Twisting and Compression Falls – 10-6-2016

With the Fall colors just beginning along with the mild temps and lower water level, I decided it was time for another return trip to one of my favorite locations in the Elk River Gorge which is Twisting and Compression Falls. This would be my son Tyler`s first time to this awe inspiring area and it is always exciting to see the expressions on the faces of first timers especially when they are seeing a place as rugged and special as this one. We would be accompanied by John Forbes who is also no stranger to these parts having been with me on more than one occasion here. Normally we would follow river right along a very hard to find and primitive ninja goat trail that snakes it way along the tops of the many cliffs that line that side of the gorge which does afford a very good high view of Twisting Falls not to mention being able to get down onto the ‘shelf rock‘ just below the base of the falls and then continue on until a super steep descent down the correct off trail route would land us at the base of Compression Falls. Of course here is also ‘the chasm‘ that one can use a rope to climb down to reach the base of Twisting Falls as well, which we did on a previous trip but, since the weather was warmer this time and we were looking for a new adventure here, we decided that we would cross the river and go down river left all the way to Compression Falls and out that way. Our decision was rewarding and paid off with everything we had expected and then some.

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Early morning sun making its way down into the Elk River Gorge

NOTE: There has been much controversy recently about the names of the waterfalls included in this section of the Elk River. Many believe that the name ‘Twisting Falls’ applies to ALL the drops / falls within this section. This is also how it has been listed on USFS Topo maps for many years and I can see why because the falls are somewhat close together and the river does twist around in a rather extreme manner as it runs its course through this section of the gorge over the various drops found there. The name ‘Compression’ falls has never been an official title as it was contrived from a kayaker who compressed his spine going over the lowest and largest of the drops several years ago however, after speaking with many of the current locals and old timers of the Poga community, the main falls has never been called ‘Twisting Falls’ by them. That name has always been reserved (by them and the kayakers) for the upper falls that are NR (Not Runnable) by rafters / kayakers, etc., and boats must be portaged around. There are many like myself who agree that naming a series of obviously very separate, different, and unique waterfalls under one name is not only confusing but, is usually not the norm when it comes to the waterfall naming game. Although the names I use (or don`t use) for these various falls are by no means official and most likely never will be, I will continue to use them in an attempt to avoid confusion and separate each one from the others as, it is felt that each drop indubitably qualifies as an independent waterfall not only due to their individual heights but, also due to the distance between each drop. This is only a personal opinion shared by myself and several others within the waterfall and hiking community. Feel free to call them whatever you like.

It was a beautiful, warm morning as the sun made its way down into the deep Elk River gorge, casting its radiant glow on the assorted autumn colors that were just starting to show. The trail down from the top is extremely steep and rutted without any formal construction making for a slick descent under any conditions. Once we reached the river we changed into our water shoes and found the safest place to cross over to the other side in order to make our way down to the top of Twisting Falls where we would introduce Tyler to what we affectionately call ‘The MeatGrinder‘.

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Tyler stands atop of a small falls on the way to Twisting Falls which lies directly under that diamond shaped rock in the background.

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Tyler`s view of the small falls he was standing atop of. This is looking back up river the way we came down

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John has donned his water shoes and instantly strikes a happy Gnome pose as he crosses the unusually low water of the river

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A view looking back at the small falls. If you look close you can see the dark / light and moss lines that show just how much the water level was down. This is usually flowing much higher and stronger !!

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The top of Twisting Falls and what we affectionately call The Meatgrinder ! Even at low water levels you can see the violence here !

Tyler seemed to stay one or two steps ahead of me the entire time as he is not much into the picture taking part of these hikes yet, and John lagged a bit behind me taking his time to meticulously document the trip , both of which offered me ample opportunities to photograph them in various desirable places. We did spend a lot of time exploring all aspects of Twisting Falls and the rock formations beside it, leaving no crack or crevice untouched. I could tell that Tyler shared my love for the massive rock cliff beside the falls that I have affectionately named such titles asĀ  ‘Mantis Head Rock’ and the ‘Bee’s or Wasp’s HeadĀ  Rock’ or ‘Hornet`s Head Rock’ etc. You can see why by its triangular diamond shape that sits high above that seemingly looks down on the falls. The narrow ledge beneath it are used to portage kayaks around the falls as they are NR (not run-able). Standing on the tip top is exhilarating to put it mildly.

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John triumphantly gnome poses beneath the Mantis Head Rock high above Twisting Falls !

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Wide angle of John posing above Twisting Falls. You can see ‘the ledge’ cliff area where I have gotten great pics of these falls from on previous trips in the distance where the river makes an abrupt left hand turn.

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John poses just above Twisting Falls. Any other time the rock he is standing on would be underwater but, on this trip we would be able to get up close and personal with these falls in a way we have not been able to do before.

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John chillin’ above Twisting Falls on a rock that is normally under raging water !

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Looking down into the lower part of Twisting Falls

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Looking upriver from the top of Twisting Falls

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This view of the top of Twisting Falls is normally not possible as the current would make it impossible to stand here.

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Tyler already past the Hornet`s Head Rock aka mantis Head Rock , looks down into the falls before he continues to stay a few steps ahead of us.

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Up close the Mantis Rock has more of an Alien Head look to it !

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Tyler standing beneath the might Mantis Rock

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Me doing the traditional style Gnome pose above the ‘MeatGrinder’ of Twisting Falls with my son ‘Little RAT’ above me as he stands under the Mantis Head Rock. (photo by John Forbes)

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Closer view of me above Twisting Falls (photo by John Forbes)

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Me Gnomin` under the Mantis Head Rock (photo by John Forbes)

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John takes advantage of the lower water levels to get up close to the meat grinder

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Top of Twisting Falls

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Tyler checks out Twisting Falls from our river left perch

Due to the lower than normal water levels and the warm , dry conditions, we were able to access points deep within and very close to the falls on the river left side. Normally the spray off the falls would make the rocks much too slick to get any traction on due to their extreme sloping angle. This was a royal treat in itself which we did our best to capture in our photos.

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John at the top of Twisting Falls as seen from a place that is normally not possible to stand on due to high water levels and spray making the sloping rock impossible to stand on.

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The Fall colors were just starting. A week later and this view would have been incredible !

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John looking down into Twisting Falls while still on river right gives some scale to the size of these falls that look much smaller without a person in the shot ! It was once said these falls were only 16 feet high,, hmmm,,

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My view of the ‘shelf ledge) from the mantis rock where the river makes a hard left hand turn below it. having been on top of the cliff and sat on the ledge there before, I had much appreciation for this view.

Tyler had already found his way down to the base of the falls and managed to jump to a rock mid-river and from there another jump landed him on the other side where he continued to almost get around the rounded splash pool`s narrow, sloped edge ! I eventually followed suit as did John and we all spent a significant amount of time there including a cold swim over to the base of the falls and back by Tyler and myself before continuing down river to the next falls (unnamed) that lie in between Twisting and Compression Falls. We did notice the distinct smell of what we thought was a campfire while at the base of Twisting falls but, as it turns out the smell grew intensely stronger which actually affected our breathing. By the time we got down to Compression Falls the gorge was filled with visible smoke so we knew there had to be a forest fire somewhere nearby. It turns out that it was on the nearby Buck Mountain which we would be able to see the smoke coming from once we got out of the gorge. We kept thinking of what our plan of action would be if a fire was to suddenly overtake our location ! Having the river beside us was a great comfort however, breathing underwater is not possible nor is it possible in thick, choking smoke !

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Tyler finding a way down from the backside of the Mantis Rock to get over to the other side and the base of the falls

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Tyler hugging the rock as it narrows, not wanting to slide down the steep slope into the water !

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Tyler makes it and gets his first view around the L corner as some awesome stuff to come !

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Tyler sticks the landing from the big jump over the river !

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Another jump and safe landing on a smaller and slicker surface gets him to the other side.

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Tyler continues to make his way towards the base of the falls

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I know what Tyler is feeling right now as I recall my first time in that spot although I roped down from above where he is standing when it was frozen ! (and had to climb back up the same way !)

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Tyler coming back from the other side

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Tyler climbing back up the crack

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Tyler finding a strategy to climb back up the huge rocks !

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I see an arm and a hat !

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Tyler pops up like a whack a mole !

Once Tyler returned back from the base of the falls on the other side I turned my attention to John who was still on river right as he was being very thorough with his exploration and documentation of everything and was now bringing up the rear. He would soon take my place on river left beneath the mighty Mantis Rock so he could also take advantage of the low water levels and dry rock surfaces to get up close and personal with the falls.

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John Gnoming on the other side of the falls !

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Tyler making his way back down to where I was still at

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You can see how large everything is here !

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Beginning of splash pool at the base of Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Me on the sloped rock beside Twisting Falls (photo by John Forbes)

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Being able to get this close to the falls was rare nevertheless to witness these 2 potholes that are usually behind a raging plume of twisting water !

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John`s gnome pose from the tip top of the falls puts the perspective into the size of these falls !

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Top of Twisting Falls (I had to pay extra for the special fog effects !)

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A small gnome at the top of a large falls !

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John giving some scale to Twisting Falls. It has been said that these falls are on 16 feet high. I think that is incorrect !!

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Looking across the lower part of the splash pool from my puckering perch along the side of the falls

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Looking across the splash pool at the steeply slanted rock on the other side. John and I had roped down that to reach the base on the other side when it was frozen on a previous trip here. The water level was much higher then as there was barely a level place to stand !

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I had a good view of the ‘ledge shelf’ from this vantage point which is one of my favorite places to view these falls from. We would not be going on it on this trip as it is access from river right.

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Back to Tyler as he is almost back to my location

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Tyler does some fancy steppin` to get over to the side of the falls

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Tyler takes my previous position on the puckering perch at the side of the falls. You can see how this would be impossible during higher water levels due to the extreme spray that would have those rocks so slick that it would be impossible to stand on them. Today was a special day that they were dry and we were able to climb anywhere we wanted basically.

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You can tell by Tyler`s body language that even though the surface of the rock was dry, they are still slick as they have been polished that way by many years of water flowing over them so one has to be extremely careful to maneuver around on them

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Tyler back on something level on the side of Twisting Falls under the Mantis Rock

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I look up and I see John finally making his way back underneath the Mantis Rock above

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John makes his way down from the Mantis rock above via the crack !

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John coming down from the Mantis Rock by way of the crack !

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John negotiates the crack to reach the base of the falls on river left

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John finding a foothold as he comes down the crack

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A face plant would not be good here

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Halfway down the crack John takes a detour

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John takes his turn at getting up close and personal with Twisting Falls on the extremely sloped rock. This is usually not possible.

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John at Twisting Falls with the Mantis Rock high over head.

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John gnome poses at a place never Gnomed before !

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Me at the base of the falls. Normally the rock ledge I am standing on would be underwater. (photo by John Forbes)

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Rat gnome poses at the base of Twisting Falls (photo by John Forbes)

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Getting my dose of ‘crack’. I think I had to go back and retrieve my pack (photo by John Forbes)

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Tyler is now once again over on the other side

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Tyler taking advantage of the lower water to see if he can get around the splash pool at the base of Twisting Falls

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Tyler at the splash pool

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Tyler in a unique perch. if you look at the water line you`ll see the normal height is about at his knees !

Tyler came back across from river right a second time and continued farther down river left while John and I finally made it to the other side of the river where more pics would be taken despite the light now getting onto the falls. Tyler eventually came back and joined us (his third trip to river right side of the falls) and I somehow talked him into taking a very cold swim with me to the base of the falls and back ! This was exhilarating to put it mildly !

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Tyler following the L turn towards the next cliff and falls.

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Looking down at the route I had to take to get to the other side. Just one big jump to the rock in the center then another shorter one to get to the base of the chasm and I`m home free !

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John was already on the other side and was cleaning house !

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Tyler informs me he has found a way around the next cliff and a good route to the next falls

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John is done cleaning house and now sets up for pics as the sun starts to hit the top of the falls

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My view of the falls just before making the two jumps required to reach the other side

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I could see Tyler already down at the next cliff and falls !

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My first pic of the falls from river right just as the sun starts frying the top of the falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls from water level

The following pics I took using my slightly larger camera while at the base of Twisting Falls on river right:

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The light was a bit too bright but, I did what I could.

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Close up of Twisting Falls

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Group shot at the base of Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

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Twisting Falls

It was then time for a ‘Hillbilly Baptism’ ! I was bound and determined to swim in the deep pool at the base of the falls regardless of how cold it was. I am amazed that I was also able to convince Tyler to join me ! John stayed out of the water since someone had to document the whole thing ! (that was his excuse anyway !)

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Tyler and me swimming at the base of Twisting Falls. YES it was very cold ! (photo by John Forbes)

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Tyler and me ‘CHILLIN’ at Twisting Falls ! (photo by John Forbes)

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RAT and Little RAT swimming at Twisting Falls (photo by John Forbes)

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Me trying to breath in the extremely cold water ! (photo by John Forbes)

After getting over the shock of the cold water submersion and drying off a bit, then getting back across to river left, I followed the route that Tyler had already found along a narrow rock ledge in order to reach the top of the next falls. These are actually quite large and worthy of a name as many do dive from the top here. There is even a very well built ladder anchored on the river left side of them to enable swimmers to get from the deep splash pool (which is actually at the top of the next falls which is Compression Falls) to the top of these very nice falls. We spent quite awhile enjoying this area as well. There is a very high cliff on the left side which has various perches that are also used for high diving. We would have to find a way around and down these if we were to continue our river left direction without having to swim and risk getting our packs and equipment wet.

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John poses on the narrow ninja ledge along the route Tyler found for us to get around the next cliff obstacle in order to reach our next destination. This is the near vertical rock wall of the sharp L Turn the river makes just after Twisting Falls.

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making our way across the rock wall of the L Turn to get over to where Tyler is. You can see in this picture the top of the next falls that lie in between Twisting and Compression falls as well as the top of Compression Falls and some of the river below them. The high cliff above Tyler is used to dive into the deep pool below the middle falls he is standing atop of.

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Looking back through the L Turn as I get down to the base of the rock wall there

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Rock wall of the L Turn. Due to lower water levels we could make it across the narrow ledges at its base without getting our boots wet.

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Here you can see John farther along on the highest part of the rock wall that make sup the L Turn. You can see the small crack-like route we would follow to get over it.

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John Gnome posing the lower level of the cliff as he joins Tyler at the top of the middle falls between Twisting and Compression

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Once I make it to where John and Tyler are at the top of the middle falls, i get this view looking back through the L turn

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John enjoys the cliff view of the middle falls. Just below him is the top of Compression Falls.

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Looking off the top of the middle falls you can barely tell you are also seeing the top of Compression falls which is just below and is about 35 to 40 feet in vertical height.

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There is a permanent rope ladder at these falls to aid swimmers in getting up them as most climb up the river left side of Compression Falls and swim over to this point to avoid climbing the very high and treacherous cliff above these falls

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Looking down the ladder at the deep splash pool below

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Tyler goes down the ladder for further exploration

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My view of john from the puckering perch on the high cliff beside these falls as he checks out the ladder area

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John is able to stand on a narrow ledge close to the falls due to the lower water levels. These falls are about 15 feet in height at this time.

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John as close as he can get to the base of these falls without getting wet !

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As I was standing on the cliff I kept feeling stuff hit my head. I looked up and saw the culprit high above me !!

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My view from the cliff perch looking downriver over the top of Compression Falls

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John at the top of these falls

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Looking back at the L

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Reflections in the L

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I looked over just in time to catch some leaves falling in the breeze

We did a full exploration of that area and then got a report from Tyler who had already gone ahead (as usual) to not only the top of the high cliff but, also above it and beyond to find a possible route around it. He did mention that getting down its vertical front side may require the use of our handy rope which we were luckily packing on this trip. Tyler led the way and I brought up the rear following John. It was a rather steep climb up the backside of the cliff by way of a rough, rocky ravine obviously carved out by water during heavy rains. There is little signs of human travel as most come in by way of swimming across the pool from the top of Compression Falls and using the ladder and taking that way back down or diving of course. The top of the cliff is an impressive area and I enjoyed it immensely until the sketchy part getting down it !

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Tyler coming back down from the highest point on the cliff beside the middle falls

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John begins the ascent of the steep climb up the backside of the cliff

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Looking down on the middle falls from atop the high cliff

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Our cliff view of the L looking back towards just below Twisting Falls

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We are now equally as high as those pretty colored trees across the way !

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Looking down at the splash pool of the middle falls which is just above Compression Falls from the highest point on the cliff. People actually dive from here and the other points below this !!! I would get to see it done before this trip was over !

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High cliff view of the middle falls

After some investigation we did find a route we thought we could manage with a rope yet, it was beyond sketchy as there was only a very narrow ledge about 20 feet below us. If we missed it there would be a fall of at least 30+ more feet to the rock and very shallow water below. There was a small laurel growing on the side of the cliff that also allowed us to pull this off providing it held. Tyler figured out a way to rig the rope so that we could retrieve it from the bottom and John was the guinea pig who would be the first to try it. The only real danger in this operation would be losing your grip on the rope as we did not have any other climbing gear. We also waited until John was about halfway down and had his full weight on the rope to tell him that we had broken that rope two times the day before while using my truck to pull a tree down !

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John volunteers to be the first on the rope !

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John keeping his body close to the cliff wall as he tried to find secure footing on a very narrow ledge. You can almost see how far down it is to the water if he falls although pics don`t show depth very well.

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Using his knees and everything else he had to keep three points of contact while maneuvering through trees and laurels to get down to another ledge needed to get off the rope, John has a death grip on the rope. I am sure what we told him about stressing the rope to breaking point 3 times the day before was going through his head about now !

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John continuing to inch his way lower and lower

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Now over half way down, John gets a perch where he can stop to get a visual on the ledge he is trying to get to. (the one at the green laurels down below him where you can see it drops off to vertical just inches beyond it ! There is a good 30+ foot drop off if he misses !)

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Now that he has seen the destination, John continues with purpose and precision using the rope and the small trees to his advantage

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Almost there John !

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John gives the all ok sign as he is almost standing on the very narrow ledge you can now see just below him. He will have to take it to his right without the rope to get off the cliff but, it does widen some just out of sight.

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Me as I begin my descent down the cliff on the rope (photo by John Forbes)

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After I got most of the way down I stayed on the cliff to get some shots of Tyler as he came down the rope

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That first step off the edge is always the hardest esp. when you are not harnessed to the rope and there is a little bit of air below you ! This descent was all dependent upon one`s ability to not lose grip on the rope !

John kept his grip and made it down to the tiny ledge below and I was the next to try it. It went smooth for me as well and soon I had a toe hold on the narrow ledge which actually once off rope became as wide as a sidewalk that led perfectly in the direction we needed to go to reach the trail at the top of Compression Falls. Tyler made it look easy as I watched him shimmy down the rope to the ledge and get our $10 rope back ! We could now see the middle falls that we were previously on top of. We hung out there taking pics of them and looking off the top of the much larger Compression Falls until we seen a group of people making their way up to where we were. They proceeded to free climb the outside and steepest part of the cliff we had just roped down where they did some impressive dives from various levels of the cliff.

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Once I reached the small ledge, I got this pic of John to show just how narrow it was and the sheer drop just beyond it

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Tyler making his way down.

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That first section was the hardest since there was no good footing and you had to put all your weight on your hands and the rope until you could get below that ‘air’ where a foot hold could be had. Knowing if you slipped it was about 50 feet non stop to the bottom is what made it exciting !

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Finally after giving in, Tyler gets down to the first foot hold.

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Tyler having fun coming down the rope

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Tyler taking a minute to untangle the rope

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Tyler untangles the rope

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Tyler almost down to the ledge. Now he has to get the rope back.

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Tyler getting the rope back

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A view of the route we took down around the cliff. Many climb up and around the point of this cliff just beyond where Tyler is but, they dive in the water to get back down. No one comes down the cliff, it`s just too dangerous.

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Our view of the middle falls as soon as we made it to the bottom of the cliff

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Side view of the middle falls. Just in front of me is about where we would have landed had we fell off the rope !

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Closer view of the middle falls that are between Twisting and Compression Falls

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Looking up at part of the cliff we just roped down and around

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Closer view of the falls

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Our view of the middle falls as seen from the top of Compression Falls

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Looking back at the falls from the top of Compression Falls. You can start to see the smoke in the air now as it was getting stronger.

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Zoomed shot of the falls

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Middle falls as seen from the top of Compression Falls

I was able to capture the following images of these falls by using my slightly larger camera:

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

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Middle Falls (between Twisting and Compression)

Continuing to follow the river left route, we took the well worn trail down from the top of Compression to its base and hung out there getting pics of the falls and the divers as they were now getting ready to dive off it to get back to where they started. we got a picture or two of that as well. This is a dangerous place and many have been injured or killed here. The name Compression actually comes from a kayaker who compressed his spine when taking his boat over the main falls. I have seen many do it without issue as well as many slide or jump off it and considering the large number of people that frequent here in the warmer months, I guess the number of injuries or deaths is actually low in comparison but, I always recommend great caution be exercised anytime you are around a waterfall.

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As I am standing here at the tip top of Compression Falls on the river left side, I could see some approaching young people. I let out a loud ‘HAIRNT !’ call and the girl in the black bikini immediately responded with a yell and a thumbs up !!!

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Looking off the top of Compression Falls we see more people coming.

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As I stated earlier, people climb to the top of Compression Falls and swim over to the ladder to climb to the top of the next (middle) falls but, some do climb the cliff and go right around the part we roped down as it can be done in ascent just not in descent. You will see this in pics to come,,

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View looking down river from the top of Compression Falls

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Looking down from the top of Compression Falls at the rocks on river right I am always fascinated by the square rock formations there and wonder how those are formed ‘naturally’ as it looks man made when I know it is not !

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Young daredevil diving off the halfway up point of the cliff we roped down and around

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Here you can see how it is possible to climb up the cliff that we roped down and can see how difficult it would be to climb down without a rope !!

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Another daredevil in mid air after jumping from the high cliff while others climb up the cliff !

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I give him a 7.5 . Too much splash !!

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Another diver makes the leap of faith.

John managed to get some much better images of the cliff divers. The following series is from his collection:

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Diver from the half way point. You can see another one on the highest part above him. (photo by John Forbes)

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For a short time it seemed as if he could fly (photo by John Forbes)

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Mid air positioning ! (photo by John Forbes)

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Another diver launches off the highest part of the cliff (photo by John Forbes)

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Diving from the highest part of the cliff (photo by John Forbes)

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There are ropes on Compression falls but, that would not be my choice of getting to the top.

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Tyler heading up the narrow trail that leads from the top of Compression Falls over and down to the bottom

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Looking across the top of Compression Falls with the middle falls just above it

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Looking back across the narrow ledge that is the trail to the top of Compression Falls you can see how it would be easy for a ‘flip flop wearer ‘ to get into trouble here.

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Looking back at another part of the sketchy trail that leads to the top of Compression Falls

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Following the trail down from the top of Compression Falls. After you get off the vertical cliffy part it does go up and around through this awesome rocky area.

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There are some very impressive cliffs on river left beside Compression Falls

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I like this part of the trail down from Compression falls a lot. You actually have to go up to go down !

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Looking down I can see John and Tyler already at the bottom

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The route down from the top of Compression Falls

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Looking over at Compression Falls

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Once I got to the base of the falls on river left I joined John there to setup and take some pics with my larger camera.

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This is the image John was working on when I joined him at this location ! (photo by John Forbes)

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls with the young daredevils at the top for scale. The girl had obviously never been here or jumped from here before. It took her a long time to commit but, she finally did it. I am always nervous when witnessing this sort of thing esp after so many injuries and deaths have occurred here.

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Compression Falls with young jumpers.

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I somehow managed to get a picture with no people in it !!

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Compression Falls. To jump or not to jump. I choose not to !!

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And we have a jumper !

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Compression Falls

I took the following images with my slightly larger camera, while on river left side of Compression Falls:

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

It was now time to cross the river as our river left route was over and we needed to be on river right to not only pick up the trail down river that would lead us to complete our loop back at our vehicle but, also to give us access to the top of the rocks on the other side where more photo ops were awaiting us. This was not a hard task as it was a warm and dry day. when it is wet, the rocks here are usually very slimy green and slick making it more difficult to negotiate. We all got across easily and were soon sitting atop the large puckering perch on the other side right at the base of the falls. We hung out there for awhile getting what pics we could before it became late evening, meaning it was time to go.

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I managed to get a few shots of the falls with my pocket cam as I made my way across the river to the other side (river right)

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Isolate shot of the smaller plume on the far left side of Compression Falls. This is rare as it is usually one huge wall of water when the water levels are up.

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Up close and personal with Compression Falls.

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Looking back I see John atop the river monster soaking in the magnificent views of the falls. I feel a gnome pose coming on,,,,,,

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John getting some shots of the falls with a small cam from atop the log monster

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John showing how large the log monster is !

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Compression Falls from almost river right. The smoke was getting thick in the gorge now and my throat was burning which was making me cough

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main part of Compression Falls during low water levels

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Compression Falls as seen from river right

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Compression Falls

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River right side of Compression falls at low tide

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls. Lucky for us the young daredevils had already left so we were able to get pictures without people in them.

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John setting up to get some pics of Compression Falls from our new location on river right side

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The lighting was not bad while we were at this location

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Hanging out on the spine rock at the base of Compression Falls

The following are the pics I took with my slightly larger camera while on the river right side of Compression Falls:

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Compression Falls

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Group shot

Following river right down the main trail I could not help but, to keep looking back at this awesome falls and thoughts of the days adventures were running through my head. Actually I was trying to not think of the insanely steep and long climb out of the gorge that was yet to come. It always kicks my butt and I was not looking forward to it this time either.

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Looking back at Compression Falls as we proceeded out of the gorge on the river right side

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Looking across the Elk River at the log monster

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Tyler going over one of many large obstacles along the trail down river right

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Another look back as there is no bad view of these falls

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Looking back you can now see the thick smoke filling the gorge

It took me awhile to complete the ascent and as always I was the last one to the top. We could see where the smoke was coming from once we reached that point. From there the going gets a little easier but, I was still moving slowly. Eventually I caught up with the others by the time we all reached the car.

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Taking a short rest break before beginning the incredibly steep climb back to the top of the gorge.

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View from the top we could now see the smoke and locate the source of it

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Looking across the gorge directly at Buck Mountain we could see the thickest part of the smoke. We did confirm when got home that there was a forest fire there that was contained by that evening.

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Looking back at the smoky gorge and awesome red colors as I climb the last qtr mile to the vehicle

It had been another unbelievable day in Nature and another incredible first for Tyler. We had worked up an insatiable appetite worthy of a post hike grub out at Fatz restaurant on the way home. Life was definitely good on this day and we were thankful. Until next time,,,

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Tyler had some ribs and shrimp w/ fries

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I had the hamburger steak and gravy with a baked potato

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John had his usual steak and loaded baked potato. A fitting end to a day fit for a king.

Posted on 9 November '17 by , under RATtreks.

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