Updated: Apr 5, 2021
!" i had just looked at google maps to verify my location and realize
d i made a poor call in my hiking decision.
i was walking a trail to high falls in tettegouche state park which is about a one and a half mile hike. at one point on the trail, i had an uneasy feeling that i should have gone down some stairs early on (and a lot of them) when i came upon them as it takes you down to the river. never mind that a sign at those stairs said "no outlet". that should have been my clue that was not the way to go, but then again, i'm a guy. we are not always the brightest bulb in the room.
i decided not to go down the stairs that first time and continued on the trail. after awhile, i reached that point mentioned above where i began to wonder if i should have gone down tho
se stairs. i still had not seen a sign indicating any information about the falls and how far away it was. it seemed like i had already walked a mile and a half. i decided that maybe i did need to take the stairs down to the river and headed back. when i got to the top of the stairs, i once again saw that sign warning me..."no outlet". it might as well have been blinking in neon lights as i was not looking forward to the descent when it meant i had to come back up those same stairs.
that's when i remembered that i have this pretty cool thing called a smartphone that is capable of giving me my location as long as there is cell service. i pulled it out of my pocket. sure enough, bars registered meaning that there was cell service available. i went to google maps and found the blue dot that indicated where i was. i pinched in on the screen to see more of the area i was in and a groan (see the beginning of this blog) escaped my lips...i had made the wrong decision. not only had i wasted time going back, it appeared that i still had about a mile or so to go from where i had turned back. i had only gone about half a mile or a little more when i turned to go back to the stairs. i was relieved at not having to go down the stairs but annoyed at myself for not thinking to check google maps before turning back.
i took off again and headed up the alternatively snow-packed and exposed ground trail. after about a mile, a sign finally appeared telling me to go to the left for the falls.
i turned in that direction while still mumbling something about the stupidity of not having another sign earlier along the way. i finally arrived at the steps that take you down to high falls and headed down that way. it had been a few years since i was last at high falls and that was during the spring melt. the waters were roaring then.
as the falls came into view, i could see that it was still frozen with some spots where water was clearly visible. i hiked out onto the river ice being somewhat cautious to test my steps. the temperature had been rising after a couple weeks of the "polar vortex" and i suspected that may have helped to expose some, if not all, of the visible water. i spent some time just looking at the falls as well as making some images. the sun was finally breaking through the clouds and added a beautiful color where it hit the bluff and trees on the right side. it was still two to three hours from setting but with the bluff and treeline on the left side of the river, the sun was close to being hidden from view. i was the only person there for the most part. there was another couple that came down but they eventually walked down the river ice headed the opposite way from the falls.
the first image was made shortly before the sun disappeared behind the trees on the bluff to the left. i love how the warm tones of the sun on the bluff and trees contrast with the cool tones of the icy falls. you can see the water hitting the river bottom at the base of the icy falls.
i moved ever closer to the falls as much as i felt safe to do so. i then zoomed in a little bit with my lens the rest of way for the second image. i wanted to try to capture some of the finer details of the ice formed over the falls. it's amazing the formations that result from water flows and sprays! take time to look at all the detail this icy art display has to offer! here you can clearly see the water flowing under the ice at the base of the falls.
i finally packed up and headed back to the car. i did have one more stop i wanted to make on the way back home. to the south of split rock lighthouse state park, there is a hill i've wanted to climb for quite some time. i've long wondered what the vantage point would be like looking toward split rock lighthouse from the top of that hill.
once i arrived, i had to move quickly. the sun was very close to setting below the horizon. there was no trail once i stepped off the gitchi-gami trail. there were pockets of deep snow interspersed with exposed ground from the recent melt. i had to really watch my footing here. rocks large and small were everywhere. dips between the rocks were prevalent. this would be a very easy place to twist or break a foot or ankle if one were not paying attention. i began to realize i was not going to make my vantage point before the sun went down. already the tones of the landscape hit by the sun were a deep orange. i started looking for a spot to make images from that was not blocked by the trees.
suddenly, i spotted this picnic table seemingly in the middle of nowhere. i'm guessing there had to be a trail of some sort that led to this picnic area but it was probably covered by the snow. where i was walking, a rocky and pocketed terrain dominated. that trail, if there was one, must come from the opposite direction somewhere. i made a beeline for that picnic table as quickly as i could while watching my steps. my hope was that the picnic table would be a good spot for some clear views.
bingo! when i stood on the table, the view was an awesome one that looked over the trees at split rock lighthouse standing like a sentry on the bluff. an added bonus was the lighthouse being in the path of the setting sun's rays. a rich hue of orange lit up the bluff the lighthouse was entrenched on as well as the lighthouse itself. to the right, up in the sky, the moon was rising. it had almost cleared the clouds so i waited until the moon did so. that extra wait allowed the clouds to take on more of the sun's paint stroke. this image is actually a panorama of three vertical images to capture the whole scene. i took a little bit more time to enjoy the scene unfolding before me after making some images. then i quickly packed up my gear and hiked back. i may not always be the brightest bulb in the room, but i knew not to try navigating the walk back to the gitchi-gami trail in the dark via headlamp as rough of a terrain as it was!
that wraps up another blog! i hope you enjoyed it! i'd love to hear any thoughts, questions and/or comments in the comment section below regarding the blog and images. i read them all and i enjoy responding to them all.
these images (not the sign, stairs and video- lol) are available for purchase for your home, business and/or that special person(s) in your life. i will be adding them to my gallery soon but you can still inquire about them by using the contact form below. i'll be delighted to help make this purchase be one that will be enjoyed visually for years to come!
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i'll see you next time with more "images from a quiet world"!