The first thing I should mention about this hike, is that it's on private property. The entrance is so sketchy. You can't really even tell it's an entrance at all, but thanks to the internet, we were sure we were in the right place. Once inside though, you realize that the entrance is pretty magical...like a gateway to another world. Very "down the rabbit hole" like. Unfortunately, the universe, and its infinite sense of humor, decided it would be an awesome time for rainfall. It rained for a good deal of our first hour or so, off and on. As soon as we thought it had stopped, it would start up again. In the very beginning we were pretty covered by trees so it wasn't so bad, but as we continued, it's safe to say we were soaked pretty quickly.
But, the rain didn't deter us. We came out for a hike, and hike we would! We had done our research, as per usual, and we read that you would come to a pipe, and to pretty much follow that pipe, which would lead you to the first waterfall. We followed that advice. We hadn't run into any other hikers all day...but finally, when we weren't too far from the first waterfall, we heard something. After listening carefully, we deduced that it wasn't nature sounds, but other hikers, grunting as they passed a particularly muddy part of the hike. We eventually caught site of them a little further up. Two hikers, one male, one female. As we found on our previous hikes, they were friendly. We said our hellos and both continued on. We ran into them again at the first waterfall. I don't know exactly what it is about seeing water cascading from rocks, but it's such a beautiful, calming site. We took pictures, and enjoyed the view a while. We asked our new found buddies if they were continuing through to the third waterfall. They weren't sure. It was 3 Peaks all over again...it seems we're always the only ones who know for sure that we're going on! But just like 3 Peaks, they too continued, perhaps partly because of us. We caught sight of them from the top of the second waterfall. We waved to them below, and shouted some tips when they asked how we had gotten there.
I can't recall if it was near the second, or third waterfall, but near one of them, I had my first fall while hiking. I swear, climbing boulders, and hanging off the sides by rope with nothing below you, I seem to be able to do...but walking on those slippery rocks that are poking out from a shallow bit of water, I'm not so good at. In my defense, those rocks are always slippery. And you can never tell if it's a rock that's stuck in place, or if it's one that is going to move until you actually try it. I guess it was bound to happen eventually. On the hikes I've been on thus far, I had tried so many rocks that moved as I stepped on them, but I had been lucky so far. This time there was no steadying myself before I fell. It happened so fast. I don't even think I had really finished stepping on the rock, when it moved, and my leg went with it. I fell...hard. So hard that I wish I could've frozen my hiking buddy's face at that moment. I think the fall hurt him more than me! I took a look at my knee and when I saw there was no blood, I recovered pretty quickly. My buddy said maybe we should take a break, but I wasn't having that. Besides, stopping would just give the amount of pain I was going to feel time to reach my brain. I surveyed the damage again. My right knee had taken the brunt of the damage. That fast it had welted up. It, and the surrounding area was bruised, and there was just a tad bit of blood, not enough to concern me though, so I looked at my buddy and we continued on. I accepted my "battle scar" willingly!
The most awesome part of this hike was the third waterfall, because that's the one you're literally climbing up. It was awesome, and just another humbling experience. Nature has such a beautiful way of making you feel small, and inconsequential. When we reached the top of waterfall 3 we kept going. We made it to the crater. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but basically, it was an open area filled with greenery that looked kind of like moss from where we were. From what we read, inside the crater is completely marsh.
We kept on a little further, but we decided we wouldn't hike the entire crater that day. When we set out, our goal was to hike the 3 waterfalls, and to see the crater, which we had accomplished, though we knew right off that we would be back another day to hike the entire thing. I don't think we were really expecting how large it was, but that wasn't what made us decide to not continue. What we didn't learn from our research, was that on this hike, you get cut up pretty badly from branches as you're passing. The area you're walking in is only so big, so there's really no getting around the cuts and scrapes. Luckily I had worn my awesome colorful socks that day, which helped a bit, but not completely. Not to mention, after my fall I had to bring down the sock on my right leg so that it wasn't sitting on my knee, because it hurt. Needless to say the branches were not making that knee feel any better. I tried re-covering the knee with my sock, but either way I went I was in pain with every step I took.
All in all it was a pretty awesome hike. At the end, after something like 5 hours or more, we were beat up, and exhausted...what more can you ask for! I can't wait for the next one.
|not where I fell, but somewhat similar to the area we were in at the time, except there was more water|
|part of the crater|
|the fruit my buddy recognized & told me I had to try. I was ready to blame him if I got sick|
|thankful to this crew; these flags told you you were going the right way|
|view from above, atop one of the waterfalls|
And the adventure continues...