I headed back up Rock Creek with the intent on checking off a couple bushwhack waterfalls.
First up was Rock Creek Falls. The first time I tried to head into this place, I attempted to come in from above in the snow. I quickly ended that trek. This time, I came in a little ways below the falls and headed up the creek.
The starting point was this bridge, which has seen better days. It has been blocked from vehicle travel. Interestingly enough, it looks like they laid an old flatbed railcar on top of some large poles, then resurfaced the railcar. There are a few such bridges in this area.
This was a nice looking spot along the creek that I had to creep through. It would be a lot easier to take these pictures if I wouldn't have to worry about not swallowing a gallon of gnats. This was a horrible spot to take a picture because of that.
Raccoons in town are a nuisance, in the forest, they are pretty cool, even when you only see their prints.
This portion of Rock Creek is really pretty. Low water levels made the crawl fairly easy. Higher water levels would make this undesirable. After some nice spots, I came upon this gem:
I climbed to the top of it and saw what I thought was Rock Creek Falls just upstream. (last little bit of that video) What I saw caused me to be a bit disappointed, but I trudged on. The disappointment went away the closer I got.
The last one was from inside the little hole. This is a unique little fall. It tumbles down into this little phone book-like area.
While messing around here, I noticed a small but strong waterfall off to the left on the main creek (this is just a little sprout). It looked like it was around an 8-10' cascade or so. As I came around the corner, I realized it was just the bottom portion of the real Rock Creek Falls.
I imagine under higher water, this waterfall is quite the rock 'n roller. It provides a nice contrast of reddish browns, greens, and blue sky. I did find it somewhat difficult to frame because of where you have to take the picture from. Considering that it is a neat waterfall along a beautiful section of creek in addition to it not being overly difficult to get to, I am a bit surprised there aren't any pictures of it on the internet.
Just before I headed back, I took in a little of the little wildlife:
Pine butterflies snacking on bird poop next to the waterfall. None fell into the pool, however.
These funny little birds shoot like rockets up and down creeks. When you get to close to their nest, they start making a pretty good ruckus. This one had some lunch. This was taken just outside that thin waterfall.
I headed back to the car and went after nearby Huckleberry Creek, which is just one creek above Zig Zag Creek. I noticed it had an unmarked waterfall that fell into a pool. It didn't look too difficult to get into and I thought this might be a good chance to snorkel. The road had a similar bridge to what I found earlier, only in worse shape. This one had a crumbling bridge on top of the large poles with a railcar bridge on top of it. I dropped down and headed up the nearly totally dry Northeast Fork of Rock Creek, which had no flowing water, only a few stagnant pools. I knew the falls were further up the road, but thought I might stumble across something interesting (there's always something interesting). What do you know, there was something interesting...
This looks very much like a fossil of a very large seashell. Or one of the things similar to a fossil that I forgot the name of, as I was probably spacing off and daydreaming about dinosaurs during that lesson. The picture(s) don't really do it justice, but it was pretty obvious in person. And this was possibly the only the second or third time I've ever taken a hiking pole. The other time I can remember dragging one along was for an Emile Creek hike.
Back up to the road for the short hike to Huckleberry Creek Falls. They occur right near where Huckleberry Creek and Bluff Creek meet. Bluff Creek was 100% dry. The way down was very steep and the rocks were exceptionally loose. Once I made my way down to the creek, I realized that what wasn't knee-deep water was filled with what appeared to be impenetrable brush sandwhiching a monstrous logjam of small sticks. Against the better judgement of what most practical people would do at this point, I forced my way back into the waterfall.
It isn't very big, but it is nice looking. The pool was too small and had too much water movement to bother snorkeling in. I do believe there is a larger waterfall up beyond this one, but I'll leave that one to the imagination. This was a very short but brutal bushwack. That said, there are some spots along Huckleberry Creek between this waterfall and where I found the shell fossil that look fascinating. A return trek will be in order at some point for that section.
Still time to kill, I headed back to Zig Zag Creek to finally snorkel. I tried a theorized shortcut I mentally noted from my last trip into the creek. While it is shorter and fairly un-steep, it is a royal pain and I turned around not far from where I entered from the road. I did stumble across an old 50's or 60's icebox and an unused tire. Feeling frisky, I hopped down to the icebox and opened it. The worst thing that could happen that it would be empty. Or a hornet's nest. Or a human head. I guess those last two are worse than empty. Instead, I found this:
While 1984 had its moments, there are better places for garbage than the deep woods. How easy would it be to trace this back to the last person who had these plates registered? This is the spot it is sitting:
I crawled back out of this dry-ish creekbed and headed back to the car to use up my remaining time. On a whim, I started hunting down a cave I spotted across Rock Creek from the main road. I didn't get to the cave due to waning time and energy, but I did get close.
Back near the car, I came upon some bright pink flowers and figured I had a couple minutes to spare.
The pre-shot color does more than just produce nice images. It also allows for the forgiveness of poor lighting or unfortunate backgrounds. You'll notice that on the full color photo of these flowers, the full-light causes issues and the forest that comprises the background isn't all that pretty. The filter not only allows some color, but also allows other imperfections to blend a bit or to be used to generate an interesting scene.