It is early in the season, but this is definitely my find of the year so far. It’ll be tough to top. A stunning 212 ft. high waterfall newly discovered by the Waterfall Madman. Never before documented. Never before seen (well perhaps not that).
By my calculations the sun would be on ridge above the falls at 7AM. It is a six mile hike one way to the waterfall. That meant I have to start my hike 5am, 1.5 hours before sunrise. That meant I would need to get up at 3AM. Oh my goodness.
I started the hike 5 minutes late. Ok no problem. Less than five minutes into it, I hear a big creek ahead. It sounded loud and strong. Please let there be a bridge. Ah nope, no bridge. I had to take off my hiking boots and put on my water shoes. The water was up to my knees but not a problem to cross. Now I was ten minutes late. The entire hike was on logging roads (so I thought) so the going was pretty easy, but I had to take a bit of detour at one point, which was another delay. Now I was 15 minutes late. I was not going to make it on time. The only thing to do now is to start jogging. I don’t like doing this but had no choice. Jogging in the dark is not smart. I was certain I was going to scare up some critters like lions … or bears … or perhaps a skunk. Well, I didn’t. Only a few birds were scared up (or scared me up as I ran past them). I was almost to the falls when I came to the end of the road. No more nice logging road anymore down the last section along the ridge to the falls. This was a lot more difficult, but I still made it by 7AM. However, the sun was already up on the ridge. Earlier than expected. But it did not matter, there was no view of the waterfall. I could hear it. I could not see it. There was supposed to be a nice open view of the falls from the ridge! I did get one glimpse of it but there was a big tree in the way. There was only one thing to do. Go down to the bottom. This was a familiar story.
I ran into poison oak for the first time on the way down. I just wanted a good view of the thing, and finally got a decent one halfway down, though I was hanging onto a rock ledge on the edge of a cliff. It is definitely a spectacular falls. I tried to go further down but there was just too much oak. Didn’t want to deal with that crap again, and I already got a decent shot anyway. So back up the mountain I went. After photographing the falls, I realized I lost my rope and my backpack rain cover somewhere up the mountain. What? There wasn’t much brush on the way down. How did I lose those things? I traced my steps exactly on the way back up, and sure enough, I found them near the top. Laying in poison oak. Terrific.
On the way back, I came across a skunk on the road. It is odd that I would see one during the day instead of earlier when it was dark. It was foraging for food and had no clue I was there at all, but I could not get by it on the road. The only thing I could do is go off the road through the bushes, and I was about to do that but then he finally saw me and took off running. Thankfully running in the other direction, and thankfully not spraying while he went. I was surprised he’d be scared of a human when he has such a potent weapon.
Meanwhile it was a long slow hike back, with no jogging involved. Most of the hike is thru a OHV area.
I found lots of garbage in this area, and picked up so much my backpack started getting very heavy
There was also many gun shells. I didn’t pick those up. So annoying! Why can’t these people carry out their trash. Argh! I didn’t see any OHVs but I started to hear gunshots in the distance. Oh great. Am I going to see them? Yep, you bet. They were right at the creek crossing, and it was loud.
Please don’t shoot me! I just wanted to get past them as quick as possible, and I didn’t even take my boots off. I just splashed through the stream. No big deal, I was only five minutes from the car.
When they saw me (and they did), they didn’t even stop shooting tho they were all wearing ear muffs and I wasn’t. Isn’t it just common courtesy to wait until I passed? It is not like I was doddling. I was booting it past them as fast as I could. Not to mention I picked up all their bloody trash on the road. Show some respect, people.
There were even more of them where my car was parked. What? Are they shooting at my car? It seemed like they were rather too close to it. Anyway, I got in my car, wet boots and all, and drove out of there as fast as I could. I did not get shot, and despite the loud and annoying ending, I had a great morning making this fabulous new discovery.