I took a hike back up to Willow Creek with the goal in mind being to get better pictures of the upper waterfalls. The main idea this time was to hit the last waterfall before the sun did. It is located in the Grotto Falls/Lookout Mountain/Emile area of the Little River drainage.
The picture numbers are all out of order because I went quickly up, then took my time on the way down. This is almost always opposite of my usual approach. They are presented in order of the direction of the creek, with bugs and flowers at the end. The locations look very different due to the weather being very different than any of my other trips.
Here is the first unnamed waterfall:
This waterfall has never impressed me much. But lower water and some sun has changed my perception a bit.
Unnamed waterfall #2. Prettiest waterfall I've seen. I took color pictures, but they turned out identical to ones in the past.
This might be the coolest spot I've ever been where there is not one special feature.
Just below that smaller tree in the center, you can see a...
...spider web way off the ground (just above center). It is quite impressive for a spider to tie off a web that high up and from trees that far apart. Funny enough, I couldn't see it from the other side. It was basically invisible without the sun behind it. Sometimes, I think those spiders actually know what they're doing. At the same time, flies see the world completely different than we do, so who knows...
The side-view of #3.
The ever-troublesome logs at waterfall #3 made me think a little this time. This is the lowest the water has been on any of my trips. Usually, this fall is more power than pretty. Today, it was the other way around and I began lamenting those logs more than I usually do. So, I decided to take them out.
Now you see them...
...now you don't.
No, I didn't physically move them. Nor did I Photoshop them out. Instead, I crawled along the bottom half of a rotting log (seen as the only horizontal piece of wood above). I never thought of doing this before (and I probably shouldn't think of doing it again) because the water was so high that this would have caused me to miss half of the falls, horizontally. There is also the fact that it is pretty risky, as I have no idea how long the bottom half of that log will last while I was there. It is only early spring in the Pacific Northwest and we're already experiencing mid-summer water levels.
The creek shot and cascade are right along the same spot between #3 and #4.
I am upfront in admitting that I'm terrible at estimating height and the topographic maps aren't always overly helpful at doing anything more than general guesstimates. The pictures have a bit of fore-shortening, making this waterfall seem shorter than it is. In person, it is quite tall and the rock face which wraps around the surrounding cliff is impressive. My guess is that it's in the 120' range, which is about twice as tall as anything else on this creek. Oddly enough, the topographic lines for this exact spot show a only show an uptick in height, not a cliff.
I remember the climb up and around this waterfall to be more severe, but it isn't bad at all.
The last fall on the creek. The goal was to get here before the sun blasted it, which is what happened last time. It kinda did this time, but not too badly. I'd like to visit this fall during cloudy conditions. I did a black and white because that often hides flaws the photographer can't hide by framing. Of the two black and white waterfall photos on this post, there is a difference. This one is high contrast while the earlier one is low contrast. You use high contrast most often to make an ugly scene more appealing, while low contrast is used to make a scene that is already pretty that much more so.
On the hike back down, I spent much of my time looking for salamanders.
After a while, it got tired of my nonsense and took off. I couldn't see the screen at all while shooting, so I just pointed and hoped.
This last one turned out a bit creepy if you ask me. "Soon..."
Once I hit the 3rd fall on the way up, I remembered to remind myself to grab the bug spray before I left the car. Thankfully, I only saw a couple mosquitoes. Unfortunately, gnats were everywhere:
This was taken from atop a boulder looking down into a levitating sea of accidental protein and I took it only to show the yuckyness of the swarm. Funny enough, I captured something else:
For a while, images like this were thought to be photographs of hyper-fast insects called "rods" or "skyfish". They were once a paranormal/cryptozoological mainstay of the late '90s/early '00s, featured on the classic show Sightings, among others back when Discovery Channel actually discovered things other than reality TV shows. Instead of being long insects faster than any creature on the planet which had thus far escaped empirical scientific proof, research and logic has proven them to be artifacts of shutter speeds.
A western trillium I found while climbing up and past the tallest waterfall. This was at the steepest point and where there was no protection if I slipped, but, hey, I'm easily distracted by trilliums.
There were clusters of placings of these stream violets.
This is a netwing beetle and it is a couple inches long.
This is a type of dobsonfly. The big type. It was probably 3-4 inches long. I saw it crawling on that reddish rock. It came out of the water, then went back underneath a ways down and stayed there. You could see its head turn back and forth as it looked for a meal and/or predators. Very common, but also quite cool.