Clark creek natural area has been my local favorite for a long time and the last 2 Waterfall Hikes here have not disappointed. One of my favorite parts of this trip is the ever changing landscape that is continuously being eroded from the cool soft flowing natural springs.
On my last couple of visits I found a natural damn that was caused by a large fallen tree and shifted boulders. I can only assume that from the last couple of rainstorms, the large amount of rain washed out a tree close to the bank, caused it to fall over and along with the other debris and sand, it created a damn that raised the creek bed over 8 feet. This has also caused the waterfall in this section to be at least 8’ shorter.
With this constantly changing landscape, it also brings on more physical challenges. As we try to exit a couple of the waterfall areas and return to the trail, the wooden steps that were built have become further and higher away. The hike is starting to turn into a hike, climb, slip, and fall. This “Waterfall Level 1” hike is quickly turning into a “Waterfall Level 2”. I am sure that our guests were not expecting some of the scrambling over and up boulders that we encountered, but after they achieved it, I could see a sense of accomplishment and pride that they overcame these obstacles.
As usual, I had a great group of company to join me on the hike and with the small group of 12 made it easier to be able to have more conversation with more people. When we have larger groups, I sometimes feel like I am not able to connect with as many as I would have liked. I hope that everyone else felt the same.
We all returned back to the trail with the normal wet feet from walking in the water, but in addition to the wet feet, unfortunately we also returned with a broken pinky finger. One of our guests fell and when he went to reach for support on a rock, he broke his finger. Luckily he was a physical therapist and we had a nurse and nurse practitioner also with us on stand-by in case this little pinky got out of hand. He did have to climb a bit before the end but he did fine one handed with some minimal assistance.
All that was left was the ½ mile trek uphill to the parking lot. This is the part that separates the men from the boys. Our tight group quickly turns into a long stretched out New Orleans Mardi Gras parade with breakdowns and repairs. The youngest in our group 12 year Old Lucas made it back to the top in first place and was quick to celebrate and gloat, in which his older sister was not amused. Darn whippersnappers!
As the final ending of the trip, I always visit Mrs. Elizabeth in the Pond Store next to the trail head. The store has an interesting history, an old cash register, and plenty of refreshments including my favorite, Root Beer and Sarsaparilla.
Please remember to follow my advice before going on ANY hike. Plan, prepare, & pack. (Water, water purification, poncho, space blanket, fire starter, map, compass, & signal mirror)
Always let someone at home know when & where.
To see more pictures from this trip, click here.
-Kevin Wallis, Trip Leader