I jogged along the road down to the 300 campground area and then turned on to the yellow trail which entered the woods. I was a little leery at first and kept checking for ticks, but they never appeared and I doubt it was because I was so fast that I outran them!
The yellow loop passes the trail to the falls and ends at the north overlook but the woods obstructed the view so I went back to a footpath I had passed to see if I could find a way down to the river.
I kept an eye out for poison ivy on the narrow path which soon started descending into the fern lined gorge. Best of all, still no ticks or mosquitoes!
Hanging on to tree limbs and exposed roots I scrambled from one switchback to another, loving the adventure and the runner's high.
With the river finally in sight I walked out onto the old Willow Falls Dam water transfer pipe. Two dams were removed on the Willow River in the 1990's when it was decided the hundred year old dams were too costly to repair.
Removing the dams was initially an economic decision, but the waterfall and limestone gorge that were restored in the process has increased the natural attractions of the park for visitors, and after the stream bed habitat was repaired a thriving trout population now resides in the cool waters.
I took a picture from the bridge but the light was all wrong, giving me a reason to return and share it with Wayne in the evening.
Another reason to return was the Pyrola peeking out on the hillside above the main path down to the falls. My iPhone just wouldn't focus and after 15 minutes of Achilles straining attempts I moved up the steep trail to wake up Wayne.
Wayne and I took the steep path down after dinner to find the river and falls full of people cooling off, including some kids walking along behind one of the cascades. The falls have a drop of 45 feet and a width of 100 feet so there was plenty of room for frolicking.
Not everyone was in the water, some were scaling the walls, not the falls.
A few folks were fishing on the other side of the bridge but I was happy to leave with my photos and my memories of a great run that turned in to an adventure and then ended with a stroll with my honey.
|Bird's Foot Trefoil|