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Posts Tagged ‘waterfalls’

Lower Calf Creek Falls Hike (Day 128)

November 24th, 2009 1 comment

The last real trip-like thing I did: hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante. The payoff seems way to good considering what a short (6 mi. r/t), easy (not much elevation gain) hike it is. IMHO. I guess that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though — it’s a pretty great payoff.

Most of the hike heading up to the waterfall looks like this:

lower-calf-creek-falls 1

So, you know, red rocks, but with more stripes in them. This area more than most reminded me of a painting that used to be in my Grandpa Kimball’s house somewhere. There were horses involved (in the painting), but not the kind of horses that kill people.

The trail eventually started following alongside the creek (that would be Calf Creek).

Then I got to the waterfall. I’m not sure if it’s really all that cool, or I just realize at this point that it’s the last major natural feature of the trip and am therefore inordinately excited about it, but whatever. It looks different from every angle, has a bunch of cool colors in it, and is really high. Tough lighting though.

lower-calf-creek-falls 4

lower-calf-creek-falls 3

lower-calf-creek-falls 2

lower-calf-creek-falls 5

lower-calf-creek-falls 6

lower-calf-creek-falls 7

lower-calf-creek-falls 8

Waterfall, yes!

The trail back had these trees on it:

lower-calf-creek-falls 9

Seemed important to share them.

Then when I took off out of there, I was on Highway 12 again and took this picture:

lower-calf-creek-falls 10

I like denuded aspens.

Anyway, all-in-all a pretty good road trip lo these past four months. Maybe I’ll do an entry for the drive back to SoCal. That will be epic. Epic!

bkd

Categories: southwest Tags: , , ,

Big Barbecue, Broad Falls (Day 118)

November 15th, 2009 No comments

A very full getaway day. Starting in San Antonio.

1. Packed up my mobile office and “checked out” of the hotel. I think I left a jar of grape jam on top of my truck when I pulled away. Hope it wasn’t messy, but I fear it may have been.

2. Did laundry at a sketchy laundromat in NE San Antonio.

3. Got my oil changed.

4. Drove about 1 1/4 hours to Driftwood. The only thing better than driving on the lonely Farm-to-Market roads was the food at the Salt Lick.

salt-lick-barbecue-austin.jpgThe potato salad is a double portion (in lieu of cole slaw).

This was the second time I’d ever been to the Salt Lick — the first time was three years ago. I remembered it being the best barbecue ever, which of course led me to thinking that I’d probably over-romanticized it in my mind and, thus, that I’d be disappointed. Anyway: it’s definitely the best barbecue ever. Probably the best restaurant ever. My guess is that there’s something teutonic in their recipes. I could swear there’s a hint of sauerbraten in the meat and barbecue sauce. If I ever die choking on Salt Lick brisket, it would have been worth it. This by itself would be worth the trip to Texas.

I bought a t-shirt.

5. Headed out to Pedernales Falls State Park. Wasn’t sure I was going to stop, but it was early enough in the afternoon and wasn’t sure what else I was going to get to, so after passing the turn-off and then suddenly fearing regret, I went back and entered the park. Worth it.

pedernales-falls_qtr-closeAlthough I might argue that it’s more of a “cascade” than a “waterfall”.

pedernales-falls_mazeAnd then the river runs through this maze of rocks.

pedernales-falls_frontFull-frontal waterfall/cascade.

Plus they let you run around on whatever surface you feel like. It’s nice.

6. Drove on to Fredericksburg, but instead of stopping turned up north and drove another 25 miles (or so?) to Enchanted Rock State Park, where I set up camp for the night. Then camped.

Fin.

bkd

Categories: southwest Tags: , , , ,

Cedar Creek Falls at Petit Jean Park (Day 113)

November 8th, 2009 1 comment

Spent most of the day driving through various states (MO-KS-OK-AR), but ended up in Arkansas at Petit Jean State Park with (barely) enough time to go check out Cedar Creek Falls, which I think is some sort of park highlight or something. There’s also about a one-mile walk to the other side of the creek where there’s a different place to look at the same waterfall. (!)

I like how exclamation points inside parentheses imply enthusiasm. Which I’m not saying in order to imply the opposite of enthusiasm. It’s just what it is.

petit-jean_cedar-creekThe one thing I’ve learned about myself on this trip is that I really like rivers (and creeks).

petit-jean_ccc-overlookPast peak color *and* past peak lighting.

petit-jean_grasshopperGrasshopper, rock, lichens.

petit-jean_cedar-creek-fallsSame falls, other direction.

I also never knew what a vast body of work is attributable to the Civilian Conservation Corps. They didn’t exactly cure the depression, but they sure left their mark on the country’s and states’ parks, forests, and wilderness areas.

Then I went and slept in the “overflow camping lot”. It was crowded and un-private, but I had a view of the lake.

bkd

Natchez Trace Route: Still No Sign of Bandits (Day 107)

November 4th, 2009 1 comment

I’m getting close to as behind on blog posts as I’ve been all trip. Woot!

More photos from the Natchez Trace Parkway. It continued to be a road with stuff to see on either side of it. Day 107 wasn’t rainy. We had peanut butter and jam samiches for lunch. What else is there to tell, really? I know, you’re just here for the photos. Punks.

natchez-trace_tishomingo-lillypadsTishomingo lily pads.

natchez-trace_tishomingo-bridgeThe nearly-invisible swinging bridge.

natchez-trace_trace-sunI can’t tell if this photo is interesting, unsettling, or just bad. I guess none of those are mutually exclusive from any of the others.

natchez-trace_meriwether (1)Meriwether Lewis died here.

natchez-trace_fall-hollow (1)Fall Hollow Falls.

natchez-trace_jackson-fallsJackson Falls.

natchez-trace_tenn-farmsTennessee countryside.

I should probably do some sort of study about blog post quality and previous-night sleep. It was about 35 degrees last night, but mostly both my hips are sore from — I dunno. Lying on the ground without enough padding, I guess, and that’s apparently my personal COG.

Wishing you a safe, lucrative Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow,

bkd

Smoky Mountains, Rainy Weather, Ramsay Cascades Hike (Day 91)

October 18th, 2009 4 comments

It’s sort of amazing to me how much weather determines my mood. And you’d think that someone who grew up in the Seattle area would be okay with being rained on constantly, no-visibility skies, and temperatures in the low-50s. Nope. Ah, well.

Picked up my bro in Knoxville Wednesday night, slept in a Holiday Inn Express in Kodak or Sevierville (one may be a subset of the other), then trucked on down to the Ramsay Cascades trailhead in the northeast part of the park. It was an eight-mile out-and-back with a 2,400-foot elevation gain.

ramsay_little-pigeon-riverWhen it rains this much, the Little Pigeon grows up a little.

ramsay_log-bridge-telkontarA Telkontar sighting.

ramsay_ramsay-cascadesFor want of a telefoto lens, the best shot available of the falls.

ramsay_warning-signWe weren’t next.

ramsay_path-and-treesWenn von Nebel frei die Bahn!

ramsay_log-bridgeLog bridge on the way back down.

The rivers were awesome and the falls apparently relatively big — I’ve found some other photos online wherein the water coming off them is a lot less than we saw. I guess the rain *is* good for something. I was pretty soaked — as much from sweat as from rain — but lived to fight another day. Some website designated this trail as “difficult”, but that website, whatever one it was, is crazy. Or at least its author has a different definition for “difficult” than I do. Or maybe I’m just in that good of shape.

And then we decided we were wet enough that we didn’t need to prove anything by also camping in such weather. Fortunately, Pigeon Forge offers plenty of cheap hotels. Unless you plan on staying Friday or Saturday night.

bkd

PS, I’m staying in the Brick House Campground in South Carolina right now and it is the best Verizon data connection I’ve had through my MiFi the entire trip. Could some physicist out there please explain?

Shenandoah and the Two-Way View (Day 82)

October 9th, 2009 Comments off

Shenandoah is a National Park made for old people who don’t get out of their cars. There’s nothing to do there besides pull over and look out over the side and see the valley with farms and towns in it. Valleys, sorry. One on each side. They don’t change much.

shenandoah_overlookEvery quarter-mile there’s an overlook. And every overlook has this exact view (in essence).

But at least the old people are genteel. At least the local ones are. And with the photography, I just went with the old standby: leaves. I’m guessing Shenandoah is pretty brilliant by the end of October. Wasn’t as colorful as New England had been a week or two earlier, though. I suppose these things take time.

shenandoah_skyline-drive-leavesAnother couple weeks and Skyline Drive will be on fire (figuratively).

I also sort of went on two hikes. The first was to White Oak Canyon, which my Reader’s Digest book suggests is the park’s scenic highpoint. To me, the highpoint of it was getting 2.3 miles in, seeing the first little waterfall, and having the locals there tell me it wasn’t worth it to keep going, because the rest of the waterfall was going to be even less spectacular. I guess it hasn’t rained much in Va.

But, whatever, there must be hike photos, so:

shenandoah_white-oak-leavesTrailside leaves.

shenandoah_white-oak-turkeysJust after it occurred to me that this would be a pleasant enough place for turkey hunting with Sgt. York, I stumble onto these guys. Gary Cooper, however, did not make an appearance.

shenandoah_white-oak-cascadeThis is more stunning than the waterfall was.

shenandoah_white-oak-bridgeEh. It’s a bridge.

The couple at the waterfall also insisted that I should hike up to Hawk’s Bill Peak, the highest point in the park, so I did. It was a short hike. Here’s evidence it happened:

shenandoah_hawks-billThe compass tells you where the forest is on fire.

And then I headed south and out of the park, never to return again.

shenandoah_yellow-by-roadSomehow the yellow seemed significant at the time.

shenandoah_bobcatJust because you can’t see it doesn’t mean this isn’t a photo of a bobcat.

It really *was* a bobcat.

bkd

Sunday Driving Through New Hampshire (Day 73)

September 28th, 2009 4 comments

Woke up in a hotel in White River Junction, Vt., rainy as promised. Got in the car, drove across the river to Hanover, N.H. and ended up in the middle of Dartmouth’s campus. It looked like an Ivy League campus — basically the same as USC, but with worse weather. IMHO.

First stop of the day came in Orford, which the Reader’s Digest book said was representative of all New England towns. But I think I missed the turn into town. Stopped at this church anyway (it was Sunday after all):

new-hampshire_orford-churchWet road — a recurring Day 73 theme.

From there, headed up Highway 10 till I got to Haverhill Corner, at which point I got out of the car to take a photo of another church.

new-hampshire_haverhill-corner-churchAnd only one power line in front of this one!

Yeah, and then I guess I could keep talking about how I stayed on the same highway for a while, except that would be uninteresting. And I’m all about mad hooks and, I dunno. It’s a little cold right now. I should do these exclusively at night. Meh.

new-hampshire_tree-tunnelThe tree tunnels are different here. They all look like the opening scene of a horror movie set in 19th-century New England.

And then I — nothing. I did nothing. I think the next photo is from the town of Bath, except you only see the inside of *something*. It could also be in a horror movie if you wanted it to be. Or not. Either way’s probably fine. [BTW, it’s now evening.]

new-hampshire_bath-bridgeThis would be the *inside* of the (covered) bridge. No cars allowed since ’99, though, which kind of kills it.

new-hampshire_pemigewasset-riverI think this is the Ammonoosuc River. I suppose I could just make up a name.

new-hampshire_swiftwater-bridgeThe Swiftwater Bridge. You can still drive over it.

new-hampshire_swiftwater-cascadeMy kingdom for a blue sky. Oh well. It’s not much of a kingdom.

Just FYI, I like(d) New Hampshire. It has two things that Vermont doesn’t:

  1. Rivers!
  2. Places to park so you can get out and take photos.

Huge. Anyway — Highway 112 is a fantastic drive. Blue sky, yes, would’ve ruled. As stated: oh well. Keeping on keeping on:

new-hampshire_hwy-112The, uh, highway.

new-hampshire_hwy-and-dry-bedThe parallel lines of road and riverbed describe the dual nature of nature and non-nature.

new-hampshire_hwy-overhangsMore leaves. If you’re getting tired of them, maybe skip Day 74…

So then I ended up at this place called Flume Gorge. I don’t know who runs it — it seems to be on NFS land and the visitor’s center says something about a state park, but somehow it costs $13 to get behind their barricade and take a two-mile walk. It was about this time that it started raining kind of harder, which did not result in discounted admission to the two-mile walk.

new-hampshire_pool-and-bridgeThe Pool.

new-hampshire_bridge-and-fallsSame bridge, same falls.

new-hampshire_avalanche-falls-topDifferent bridge, different falls.

new-hampshire_flume-gorgeAnd then the gorge.

Meh. These photos looked better last night than today. Maybe they’ll be good again in another week or two.

bkd

Vermont Is a Well-Kept State (Day 71)

September 27th, 2009 No comments

It’s kind of like Switzerland. Not much is out of place. The campground I stayed at, at Smuggler’s Notch State Park, was the nicest, cleanest campground I’ve ever been to in my life. Plenty of trees separated the campsites, for instance. There were showers and they were immaculate. There was a water feature inside the bathroom. There was a ranger on-site 24 hours a day plus a volunteer host. They sold firewood, kindling, and firestarter. And this post isn’t even about the campground.

Which, it turns out, was sort of the best part of Vermont. Ah well.

The campground was located between the town of Stowe and the Stowe ski slopes. Nice locale.

stowe_churchThe church in Stowe.

And then these waterfalls are across the street (and then a steep half-mile down) from the campground.

stowe_bingham-fallsBingham Falls, named after the copper mine.

Anyway, then I ended up going to this state park where they have an abandoned old town. About a mile into your hike through the old town, however, you begin to realize that there aren’t any building there any more or, like, anything to look at. Little River State Park was the name. Avoid it at all costs. I don’t think these pictures are as boring as actually being there, though:

stowe_little-river-leavesThat’s right, another photo of leaves. How I’ve kept my mind is a wonder.

stowe_graffiti-houseFine, there’s *one* house still standing. For now. And: you mean there’s a *down*-side to eminent domain?!

stowe_little-river-cemeteryThe town’s population was maybe 100 and existed for like 80 years, but somehow managed to maintain three cemeteries. Maybe people just died there a lot.

To be fair, I think the park’s trails were meant more for snowmobilers than normal people. Is that fair? Whatever.

Spent the rest of the day driving around the Stowe area trying to derive meaning — the next day was going to have better weather, so I was waiting for that before going up into the hills mountains. Tried to go to “Texas Falls”, but there was a bridge out at the trailhead. Drove up to Lincoln Gap, but there’s not really anything to *see*, just a road and another trailhead. Went to Shaw’s, which is the east coast’s Albertsons. Bought batteries and brown-and-serve sausage links. Pretty cool. Ate at an expensive Thai restaurant in Stowe. Then went back and luxuriated in the cleanliness (and orderliness!) of the campsite.

bkd

Niagara Falls Probably Deserves the Hype (Day 67)

September 23rd, 2009 3 comments

Which is sort of hard to admit with as anti-hype as I usually am. Just that I’ve never seen such a massive waterfall complex. Either of the major falls by itself would’ve been fantastic, but those two in the same place? Worth the hype maybe.

Of course, in my drive to keep the 48-state road trip pure, I declined to cross into Canada for the full-frontal photos. I’m guessing it would’ve been mostly mist anyway.

niagara_bridal-veil-rainbowIf I ran the world, I’d force people to rename everything currently named “Bridal Veil Falls” to something a little more thought-provoking.

niagara_american-falls-2American Falls seen from the correct, American side.

niagara_baliwoodI would’ve preferred they film the dancing scene while I was watching, but whatever.

niagara_horseshoe-mistHorseshoe Falls with attendant mist.

niagara_both-fallsAmerican and Horseshoe: Two Great Falls that Fall Great Together

Should probably be “fall greatly”.

Ways I Would Fix the Niagara Falls Experience:

  • Reduce the number of people visiting by 98%.
  • Get rid of all the buildings.
  • And tour boats.

You know, I go to National Parks and it sometimes feels like the Parks Service is trying to prevent people from seeing the park. Then I go to Niagara Falls and better understand what they’re trying to prevent. Oh well. Mighty falls, regardless. Would probably look better without all the hotels and people. And it should be possible to walk yourself down to river-level without having to pay some concessionaire to ride their elevator.

Should.

bkd

Categories: northeast Tags: ,

Chapel Beach Loop Hike, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Day 58)

September 16th, 2009 2 comments

10.5-mile loop hike starting at the Mosquito Chapel Trailhead, about 20 miles east of Munising (where the Upper Peninsula’s purported powerhouse high school football team is located).

pictured-rocks_chapel-fallsAt which point I worried I’d chosen a bad trail. I mean, remoteness is its own reward and all, but these are parking lot-quality waterfalls at best. Unless you’re in Orange County, in which case you’d hike 40 miles straight uphill for them and be grateful for the opportunity.

pictured-rocks_chapel-rockChapel Rock and the start of my shadow-sun issues. Probably if the tree had been in full sun — except that the colors on the rock are the real-life interesting part.

pictured-rocks_chapel-rock-sideMeh.

pictured-rocks_chapel-beach-rocksRocks, pictured.

pictured-rocks_near-grand-portalCliff-rocks, pictured.

pictured-rocks_grand-portal-tree

The so-called “Grand Portal”.

pictured-rocks_mosquito-beach-rocksRocks at Mosquito Beach.

pictured-rocks_cliffs (1)The edge of the world. Fine: *an* edge. And if you fall off, you’re in a lake, not some fiery abyss. The fiery abyss would’ve made a good photo, though.

pictured-rocks_jerkyI and My Breakfast

pictured-rocks_red-duckA red-headed step-duck starts a voyage of a thousand miles with a single foot-flap.

  • About as easy a 10+-miler as you’ll find.
  • My route took me past Chapel Falls down to the beach at Chapel Rock, then along the lakeshore past the Mosquito campground, then back to the trailhead via Mosquito Falls.
  • I regret that I didn’t add three miles to include Spray Falls in the hike. I’ll have to go back for that one. Per the pictures, it would have been the one waterfall worth visiting.
  • The photos don’t look as great as reality — it’s a north-facing lakeshore and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with shadowy cliffs above fully-lit water. (If anyone could lmk, that’d be cool.)
  • For being the warmest Saturday of the year so far, it wasn’t crowded.
  • Would probably be a fun place to do an overnighter — either two very easy days along the trail I took, or a shuttle hike along the Lakeshore Trail.
  • The water’s colder than it looks — but I *did* swim in it (not pictured).

I’d go back here again, no questions asked. All hail Lake Superior!

bkd

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