Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Every now and then, I find a place that just connects within myself in such a way that it almost feels magical. It is like plugging yourself into a different world and while you are there, time in the world you come from ceases to move or exist. Recently I have described a bridge and in the past a wooded creek and a chasm named after Elves. I found another one a few years ago along an unassuming little creek in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas named Twin Falls.

The hike to Twin Falls is a brutal one during summer when I went but I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to see it that particular trip and it almost guaranteed me total aloneness. The hardwood forest undergrowth consists mostly of poison ivy and the humidity is so heavy, that even breathing can be exhausting. I had a topographic map of the area but down in the thick undergrowth it is very difficult to determine one’s position so I had supplemented this with a GPS unit that had the topographic map downloaded onto the screen. I set out with my camera slung around my shoulder like a bandolier and a water bottle clipped to it.

After wading the final stream, I walked up a nearby drainage that contained the falls and finally found them at the head of a small but deep pool of emerald green water. The Twin Falls consists of two branches of a river joining together and at this juncture, the last twenty feet of the journey is absolutely vertical over rock ledges only forty or fifty feet apart. The combined creek enjoys its unity only for a few hundred yards before being swallowed up by the larger stream downstream that I just waded across.

At the falls, I sat on the far side of the pool from them on a large rock near a smaller unnamed falls for a while getting Zen-like with my surroundings. One can close your eyes and with little effort feel what it is like to be the water falling and then joining with your sibling stream. The heat was still oppressive but the slight coolness of the falling water dulled the edges of it slightly.

I took a bunch of photos of it from my vantage point and then hiked around the pool and behind the falls, stopping for a while behind each to better appreciate them. From behind one, I hung onto a rock knob and stuck my upper body out to be massaged by the cool water hands as they pounded out the aches of the hike and hopefully washed the poisons off my skin.

Having had my fill, I retired to a shady corner of the rock where I had first sat and ate my lunch while my camera was poised, waiting for a moment of sun on this cloudy day to play across the falls. Each time it would come it would be only for an instant and never right over the falls. I played this game with the sun for several hours before the clouds darkened with an approaching storm and covered the sun for good. I packed up my gear, bid a silent farewell to my newfound friend, and slipped back down the drainage.

Mid-stream, as I was wading back across, the clouds opened up and the rain began to pour. Two hours later when I finally made it back to my car, I was soaked to the bone but happy. I stripped down, sat on the raincoat that I hadn’t worn because of the heat, and drove back to the cabin two more hours by car away. I haven’t been back to the Twin Falls since, but I will.

No comments: