Return to Emile Creek

To get back in the swing of things, I took at trip up Emile Creek to find a new waterfall. Or was it...?

I had my old GPS track from my last trip and noticed that I curiously came within 200 yards of a waterfall yet did not get close to it, even though I was looking at it from straight-on.

If anyone ever wonders, those of us who traipse off-trail hunting waterfalls, rock formations, caves, or whatever mysteries are out in the woods, many of our wanderings begin with looking into that yellow circle and wondering, "Is that worth it? How do I get in there? How do I get back out? Am I sure it's worth it?" We can measure with Google Earth and think and imagine, but in the end, it's still the draw of the challenge. In spite of the extraordinary advantage Google Earth offers, you still never know what that little waterfall looks like until you're actually there. And I've gotten much more excited over sub 50-foot waterfalls than I have over 350-foot plus Watson Falls. The trekking in there is often brushy, so there could be valid reasons I did not go just a little further to this fall. I think the mystery here and curiosity was aimed as much at me as it was the waterfall on the image. I parked and headed down the same way I had before. As I came towards creek level, I heard two roars through the brush. The one to the left was smaller, while the one to the right was heavier and had some bass to it. It sounded much bigger than I remember anything else should through there, so I headed that way, even though my target was the waterfall to the left.

One funny aspect of this trip was that I kept looking for traces of my last trip or things that were familiar. And at the exact same time, I was ignoring them. After such a long break from hiking, it takes more than getting the body physically. This trend would continue throughout the trip.

I love Emile Creek is that it is rugged and has a lot of nice things on a small scale.

I broke right and the roar was undeniable. I saw this:

In the video, you can see another waterfall just downstream. That would be this one:

I took this on my last trip to the area. You can't really see the waterfall from the video in this, though I could hear it a little. Due to the nasty terrain right through there, I assumed it was a cascade and went back into the less-brushy forest and totally missed the waterfall. As I sat at the video waterfall, I wondered, "How the heck did I miss this before?" Very shortly after attempting to get to the waterfall above, I remembered avoiding the thick brush.

While both falls are only in the 15' range, the location with two waterfalls is significant enough to be christened Lower Emile Falls.

I headed back upstream to find that new waterfall I saw on Google Earth. The going was decent, as these treks go. I did start getting a feeling of familiarity, since I was going through the same place I had been 6 months prior.

With the high water, things were moving in interesting fashion:

This little cascade offered an interesting look at water movements. The water is dumping off the top cascade (with the log) into a deep pool. Part of the surface water continues over the next cascade while the remaining surface water swirls back around. As that pool fills, it surges over the bottom cascade, then retreats once the pool dumps too much water. The end of the video shows how air and water surges affect an underwater pocket.

Moving on, things started clicking back into perspective and I realized I probably had made a miscalculation on that new waterfall.

 

 

Why did I miss this waterfall last time? I didn't. My GPS track was accurate in stating that I stopped ~200 yards shy of this. That's because I forgot on that trip that I never got all that close to it.

 

 

It is a nice little cascade or waterfall, depending on how you classify things.

 

 

Looking back at that first log from the video. No way I'd cross that.

 

 

The waterfall again. Note that reddish log.

 

 


It fell from the opposite side of the creek and you can see other parts of it on the bank over there. If you look in the forest above that, you'll see a grey line of dead trees. There is a very small stream that flows right through that line. It seems a little odd that a tiny stream is killing those trees. Just to be sure I wasn't going to miss anything further up, I wandered around a bit more.

 

 

In this portion of the creek, I saw a few marker trees painted from past logging operations, as well as some large stumps. The going through here was pretty flat and not all that difficult. I then came to a small gully and the brush enclosed again. Feeling fairly sure in that the waterfall I saw on Google Earth was the one I was just standing next to (again), I started making my way back.

Near where Emile Creek meets Little River, I found this:

A nice little spot. Supposedly there is a "waterfall" down near where I took this but pictures shows it isn't much.

With a little bit of spare time, I headed to a nearby to a powerful location because I wanted to see what it looked like under solid water flow.

 

 

This is where Flat Rock Branch meets Black Creek before they eventually flow into Little River. It is an intense little spot. Unfortunately, I just don't see a way to get down to get a better view of this as well as there not being any place to stand once you're there.

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