We managed to see 6 more waterfalls, making it 11 waterfalls in 2 days. Two of the waterfalls had fish jumping up them. We stayed the longest at those waterfalls. One of the waterfalls had a bench located where you could sit and view the falls. I enjoyed rooting for the fish and hoping they would make it.
For a couple falls, we had about 2 miles of hiking round trip through old growth forest. Very cool! We were particularly impressed with the hike that is designed to accommodate disabled persons. The trail was wide and smooth.
The most interesting adventure turned out to be the last fall of the day. We had to go up about 8 miles of logging roads to get to Grotto Falls. About a mile or so in, we saw a forest service employee driving in the opposite direction. He flagged us down to tell us there was a state truck with a tractor on it heading our way and just wanted to warn us. As we continued, I became particularly aware of how narrow the road was with no shoulders. If we encountered this truck, where would we go to get out of the way?
Fortunately, we didn’t meet up with the truck by the time we got to the trail head. We saw another car at the trail head but never saw the person(s) who belonged to it. We hiked up the mountain to see the falls and they were spectacular. You could stand behind them. Regis nearly took a shower under them.
When we left, I did not think we needed to backtrack because the lousy map that I had showed the road continuing on to meet back up with our main route. This is a decision that made for an interesting ride back. Well, Regis thought it was interesting. I might use another word. Maybe the word terrifying fits for parts of the trip. We encountered LOTS of downed trees on the way back. Someone had cut the trees so you could drive by, but they were cut with a gap narrower than the road. There were also rocks in the road from sliding off the mountain side. Much of the road was flanked by rocky cliffs with loose debris on one side and a steep plunge down the other side. Remember, there were no shoulders and it was a narrow road. We saw no signs of human life on this road with the exception of the roads existence and someone having cut trees. We saw one human made structure – a shelter. Oh, and there was no cell phone service.
As we began to reach the point of being 20 miles in and the road was getting rougher, these were my thoughts. What if there is a downed tree we can’t get around and we have to turn and go back? And, what if another tree fell behind us as we went by and we would now be trapped? Do we have enough food and water? No, we don’t. I just purchased a can of tuna fish and a small can of chicken and a bag of hamburger buns. We did not have a can opener. Dart and we were doomed to eating buns until we found our way out of this mess.
Then, we came upon the worst tree yet with a small gap. We weren’t even sure we could fit through. I got out to guide Regis and we made it through. After at least 30 miles of driving, we finally got back to pavement.
I asked Regis if he enjoyed it. After all, this was finally a road that was worthy of the jeep. He said he didn’t want to have to turn around and go back and he was worried about that. He also got concerned when the trees got bigger than the car.
Now we had two situations where there were numerous downed trees. The one trail was extremely difficult (see last post) and the logging roads had downed trees everywhere. In addition, we saw lots of trees in the area that had snapped off toward the top. It was clear that a lot of work had been going on to clean up the mess. A forest service employee told me they had a bad winter and they got what they call “cascade concrete.” That’s snow stuck to the top of the tree and weighing it down. It snaps the big trees and the smaller trees bend over to the ground. It certainly explains a lot about why we spent so much time trying to bypass downed trees.
The last time we posted, we had to drive 30 miles to the nearest town where we could get cell phone service, gas, and groceries. The only store available was a little convenience store where I was able to get chips and Dinty Moore beef stew. (I remember liking that as a kid when we went camping. After eating it again, I don’t feel the same way.)
On our second day of waterfall adventures, we found a bigger town with a grocery store (if you could call it that). They had a produce department – see below. I am looking forward to getting somewhere where I can eat a salad! I was almost ready to eat the green stuff growing in the campground because I miss my vegetables.
We saw cars parked at the side of the road in the national forest and couldn’t figure out what the people were doing. The cars were empty and only there during the day. It turns out that there was a fire not too long ago in the forest and after a fire, lots of mushrooms grow. The people were gathering mushrooms for commercial sale.