Reminiscing With An Old Friend.
For years now, this has been my favorite waterfall to adventure to and photograph. What made it so special is that it was virtually unknown to the outside world, despite the fact that it was no more than 75 yards upstream of another set of very popular waterfalls. For a long time there was no trail up to this waterfall. It was a take-the-path-of-least-resistance climb up the side of a steep hill type situation. Once this mostly hair raising climb was accomplished you were treated to an incredible amphitheater, overgrown with moss a foot thick, cedars growing out of the granite cliff walls, and a deep crystal clear pool below a 25 foot tall waterfall. It is a truly special place. I have been one of first and one of the few to photograph this waterfall over the years. Unfortunately, with that comes a certain risk of discovery despite efforts to keep the location semi-secret. All in all that is ok. I do what I do because I love to share the beauty of our region with everyone. Unfortunately, as I discovered last night during my visit up there, was that this waterfall has been discovered and in a wildly destructive way. Where there was once no trail, and then a tiny goat trial up the side of the hill/cliff is now close to a mud slide and trench due to carelessness and high traffic. The small trees and roots that kept things intact have been ripped out and destroyed and the hill has eroded beyond repair. The trail up on top of the hill is in nearly the same condition. Much of the moss and ferns have been trampled to death leading up to the falls. There is a simple concept that all wilderness users should abide by and know. That concept is Leave No Trace. It really is simple. There isn't any grey area or room for interpretation; simply leave no trace of your presence, whether that be from trash left behind or destroying vegetation as a small army of people clamber up the side of a hill like a stampede instead of using an existing trail or just being careful. This type of behavior is what gets places shut down. We are lucky enough to live in a place where there isn't a lot of restriction and access issues. Let's keep it that way.