We awoke to the sound of rain so there was no hurry to get up. The forecast called for a high chance of afternoon thunderstorms so we decided to pack the rain gear and just do a short hike. It never did rain and actually turned into a very nice sunny but hot day.
At the very south end of the park there are three large waterfalls, naturally and unimaginatively, called Upper, Middle and Lower. Since we will see the first two on a hike we have planned for later, we headed down to the lower falls area. You can drive to a picnic area over the falls. Then there is a short hike that goes down the cliff and along the wide ledge to the top of the falls. Another branch goes father down to a footbridge over the river and then a little ways downstream along the south rim.
It is 127 steps down to the ledge; worse yet it is 127 steps back up.
Next onto this wide rock platform. Looking to the west, you can see the falls just to the left of Jennie, below.
We first took the trail to the falls. This is as close as we could get.
A panorama looking up and down stream.
Another view from farther downstream.
There was a somewhat obstructed viewpoint directly over this cascade below the falls. We were almost looking straight down and it even gave me a bit of vertigo.
Back to the east end of the wide rock platform, there is the view downstream.
It looked like a large section of the cliff face had recently broken off. The newly exposed rock was a rusty colour compared to the rest of the wall.
There is a large pillar next to the south wall that our next trail will go by.
There was a small arch on the pillar that looked like it didn’t have long to live.
Heading down towards the footbridge.
I pose so well I should be a model.
The trail continues along the wall.
It was very muddy from all the water dripping down the cliff face.
This is the view back from the area next to that pillar.
Notice the sign at the bottom of the pillar.
The trail continues on. When we got back here on the return trip, this is what we saw. It is a pretty nasty, near vertical climb and the other side drops 90 feet straight down into the river.
From across the river, a ranger also saw them and started yelling at them to get down and that he was going to call the park police. His yelling didn’t have much effect because they were all deaf. We had seen them using sign language. Someone in the group must have been able to hear because eventually they started scrambling down.
The trail continues up to the top of the rim.
The trail goes along the rim for a short while but the view down was always obstructed. For the amount of damage they have done to the landscape to put up all these stairs, you would think it wouldn’t kill them to cut down a tree or two and give us a view.
This is the best I could get of the remains of the rockfall and this was a zoom through a tiny hole in the branches.
The trail turned in to go beside a valley cut into the cliff by a stream and waterfalls.
Looking down over the waterfall.
Heading up the stream over a large rock being used as a bridge.
At the top of the stairs we saw a car so we assumed we were at the other end of the trail.
Heading back I saw a very steep, very unofficial and very used trail that went down into the stream valley. I wanted a picture of the waterfall so …
I waded down the stream.
Then carefully back up.
Heading back it was time for a fungus picture.
Over the bridge and back up the hill to the car.
Since it was just going to be a short hike and we had had a late breakfast, we did not bring lunch. We should know better by now. If the RV had been closer we would have gone back but there was a restaurant nearby so we stopped in for a shared sandwich.
The day was still looking pretty good so we did one more short hike. The Lee’s Landing trail is only a 1 mile round trip and is one of the very few places in the park that you can get down to the river. The trail is really just the road that the rafting companies use to get down to their launching site.
Just upstream from the launch site was a large rock beach ready to be explored, while I rested.
I think this was a bald eagle gliding by.
The launch site.
It didn’t look like they would have too tough a time right off.
As we were heading up, the rafters were heading down.
The heat made the final hill a bit of a struggle.
And then home to bask in the air conditioning.