November 15th and it hasn’t snowed yet. The weather forecast said 4 degrees and mainly sunny. I finished all the yard work the day before. That is all I need for excuse to go on an adventure.
I told my family that I was going to go find a waterfall. They thought that was a good idea and decided to come. There were two waterfalls that I had been thinking about. Shogomoc Falls is 15 minutes from the house, only about 500 meters from the highway, but I wasn’t sure how much bushwhacking was involved to get there. Eel River Falls is about 40 minutes from the house, is a 2 kilometer hike on a railbed trail, but looked like a larger waterfall. I gave my wife the choices and she chose Eel River Falls.
We were slow to get ready and left the house at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was getting cloudy so it would get dark sooner. That is the worst part about this time of year. I can enjoy the snow and the cold, but the short days and long darkness seems so restricting. We stopped at the gas station and coffee shop at the exit to Canterbury to get gas and snacks. Then we were on our way.
We maneuvered around the potholes on the road behind Canterbury. Eventually we reached the end of the road. We turned, parked the car, dressed in orange, and made our way through a patch of burdocks along the road to get to the old railbed. After picking the burdocks off each other we started our hike.
The sound of gunshots in the distance made the kids ask whether this was a good idea. We convinced them that it was and continued to hike. After about a kilometer we came across two trucks full of hunters. When we got close they got in the trucks and with a wave they drove away.
We came to the trail down to the falls and found several busted balloons with empty rifle shells attached to the rubber. Must have been some weird type of target practice. We could hear the roar of the falls from here. We descended the trail until we could see the stream. We had to come around a narrow trail following along a rock face before we could see the falls.
That is when I knew we made the right choice. The falls were impressive. The falls are caused by a rock shelf that cuts across the width of the river. There is a rock outcrop at either end of the falls which make perfect viewing platforms. There is a large rocky island below the falls and next to it is another smaller set of falls. We could feel the roar of the water falling over the falls. I couldn’t believe I had never been here before even though I had worked in the woods near here for more than ten years.
My son explored the cliffs above the falls while my daughter took pictures with her camera. Everyone was excited about what we had found. I set up to take a group shot in front of the falls. It was getting dark already so it was hard to balance our exposure with the exposure of the waterfall.
After the group shot I did my own exploring. I took pictures from the edge of the small cliffs then climbed down to some large rocks that crossed part way over to the island. From here you could look directly up stream at the falls. It was hard to show the magnitude of the falls from here. The falls aren’t high. Their width and the volume of water pouring over them is what makes them so amazing.
I tried a few more shots from water level by climbing on a small rock ledge below the lookouts. I used one hand to hold onto the rock face and the other hand to hold onto the tripod. I wouldn’t get hurt if I fell in from here but I would get very wet. That would make the 2 kilometer walk back to the car very unpleasant.
My wife took a picture of her crazy husband hanging off the cliff face. I took a few shots of the ferns growing out of the rock face and then I made my way back up to the lookouts. I didn’t fall in the stream and I didn’t loose my camera and tripod.
After a few more pictures of the falls we decided that we should get back to the car. It was getting dark now so my wife and I both got our flashlights ready just in case. On our hike back to the car we had speed walking competitions to keep the kids motivated. I didn’t know that my wife was such a good speed walker. She won every time.
When we got close to the car we could see that the street light at the old farm house at the end of the road was on. We didn’t need to use our flashlights but we were close. We found another way up to the road that didn’t involve climbing through burdocks.
Everyone was happy on the drive home. It was great to get out and enjoy such a beautiful place. We would have to return in the summer. I am guessing that it would be an amazing place to swim.