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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

February 2, 2013

Last year I learned a great deal about myself when I did Ruckel Creek.  This year Ruckel Creek just proved how far I've come as a waterfall hunter/hiker.  The day started off rather chilly, but at least the sun was out.

Mist Falls (left)  & Dalton Falls (right)

With the frost in the air Timothy and I decided that an extra layer sounded like a great idea.  We started off hiking down the old Historic Highway trail.  There were some fresh rocks from the winter storms that still resided on the old road.

Upon reaching Ruckel Creek we took a trail part way before venturing off-trail.  By this point we were starting to realize the extra layer wasn't needed.  Didn't take long before we started the difficult part.  Walking across matted down frozen grass wasn't very appealing however Timothy was nice enough to hold my hand.  Continuing on here and there we able followed old game trails through the bushes.

After a bit of work we got to Middle Ruckel Creek Falls and took in the view.  This made number forty-four for the year, same as last year however we didn't get to it until April 22nd back then.
#44  Middle Ruckel Creek Falls  (bushwhack ~ difficult access)
Unfortunately with the rather recent rains, the chute we needed to go up was quite muddy.  One of the winter storms had loosened all the rocks.  That meant that five-foot boulders that we needed to climb over were trying to slide out from under us.  It was quite tricky to navigate our way up without pushing a boulder onto each others heads.  I highly don't recommend the experience.

The next part wasn't much fun.  In fact it was the main factor as to why we tried to take a different way back last year, although that didn't pan out so well.  There is a tiny ledge you can walk across, but I shudder every time I think about doing it.  One wrong step and you go down sliding or rolling on top of rocks all the way to the bottom.  Definitely isn't a place to be a showoff.  Timothy was quite the gentleman and walked me through it step by step as I trembled along.

I was quite glad when we got past that part.  Pursuing on we continued through the bushes until we finally reached Upper Ruckel Creek Falls.  Again this made number forty-five just like last year.  Somehow we managed to find a chipmunk to take a picture of us.
#45  Upper Ruckel Creek Falls  (bushwhack ~ difficult access)

After taking in the moment we turned to head back to the road.  Looking down I caught a glimpse of the log we used last year to cross before we mistakenly went up a nearly vertical hillside 1800 feet straight up to the official trail.

Knowing this we went back to the tiny rock ledge, with my insides grumbling all the way. Thankfully, Timothy managed to get me down in one piece and we carefully worked together to navigated the muddy chute.  Onward we went and I grabbed a picture of Timothy as he climbed up towards a seasonal fall to pick up a water bottle dropped by some other explorer.

Back across the matted grass, the frost had melted by now however I still didn't like the view.  Pretty much it's a big slide to the top of trees.

Pressing on we got to the next downward trickiness.  Wasn't very exciting trying not to slide out on this one as well.  Although at least this slide had things I could grab onto.

Eventually we got to Mossy Grotto Falls, even though it's smaller the area was quite serene.
#46  Mossy Grotto Falls  (bushwhack ~ moderate access)
Luckily for us we discovered that we took the hard way down to the falls, which meant getting back to the road was a lot easier.  Considering how much hiking we'd done so far, a shortcut was greatly appreciated.  Finishing up the day we grabbed the last shot of Ruckel Creek Falls.
#47  Ruckel Creek Falls  (off-trail ~ easy access)
On the drive home I grabbed a quick pictures of Mist Falls since the day  melted the ice and it was flowing again.  Only in the Northwest could a waterfall change in just a few hours.  I grabbed another picture of Dalton Falls before putting the camera away for another day.
Mist Falls
Dalton Falls

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