Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16 – Waterfalls in Gorges State Park

Tomorrow we are taking the day off. I don’t care how nice the weather is. Today’s hike really did us in and I don’t think it should have.

We headed to the nearby Gorges State Park. This park is only a few years old and does not have a lot of facilities other than a brand new visitor’s center. Even the washrooms at the trailheads were porta-potties.

We stopped for quick look at the visitor’s center. There were some displays outside, one of which was for a raptor center.




We did the Rainbow Falls trail. It was a 4 mile return trip that from lowest to highest was only 500 feet but the GPS said that with all the ups and downs we did twice that.

The trail actually goes to four waterfalls. Our guide book said to take an unmarked side trail to Staircase Falls. Back on the main trails were Rainbow and the Turtleback falls. The guide book said that the fourth one could only be seen from a distance so we skipped it.


The trail was smooth gravel but it had a long downhill at the beginning and a shorter steep uphill to get to the falls. It was the long climb back to the car at the end of the day that really did us in.


There are lots of swimming holes and you can slide down Turtleback Falls so lots of younger people were heading in wearing just bathing suits.


In hindsight we should have skipped the side trail to Staircase Falls. The falls themselves were OK but the trail down was very steep, with lots of roots and not very well maintained.



It took some real bushwhacking to climb up beside these falls. Probably wasn’t a good idea. I was a sweaty mess afterwards.



By the time we made it back up to the main trail it was almost a toss up as to which direction to go.




So MANY steps at the end.


The payoff was the two waterfalls. While we were there we knew the trip was worthwhile but as we were going in and out we wondered a bit.

Our first view of 150 foot Rainbow falls from the trail.


While taking this picture I looked down and saw this bug. With the bright colour I think that it is probably poisonous because it wasn’t afraid of anything.


We moved on to the next lower viewpoint that you can see to the right, below.



There was a wet, from the spray, path that led down to the pool in front of the falls.


For some reason these ladies decided to come down the hard way. I guess they didn’t see the real trail.


They came straight down through that mess above Jennie. The trail is at the top of the hill.


This guy, bottom right below, decided to embrace the spray and have a shower.


We opted for a drier spot and found a nice flat rock, a bit farther down, for lunch.


Notice all the people leaving. It was probably my fault, after that sweaty climb from Staircase Falls. Once again we had the place to ourselves for a short while.

It was a bit of a jump to get back from my vantage rock that I used to take the lunch picture.


Then we moved on to Turtleback Falls. You have to climb to the top of Rainbow Falls and then climb some more. Lots of huffing and puffing.

The falls are only 20 feet tall but the rock is fairly smooth so you can slide down without hurting yourself.


Where the water colour changes in the picture, the rock ends and you falls from there down into a deep pool.




Or you can just run and jump.




Then there is a rope hanging down to the river for you to climb up and do it all over again.


Even if I had had a bathing suit, the water was still very cold and I just wouldn’t have wanted to risk getting hurt.


As we had to get back to the campground for our steak dinner tonight we started the long trek back.


We got back to the RV after 3 pm. After a quick shower we crashed into bed. We had been told happy hour would again be a 5 with dinner at 6.

At 4 we got another knock on the door. After groggily answering, we found that because it might rain tonight they had moved everything up an hour. So after another scramble to get ready we were on our way. We even got another ride up the hill.

We could smell the steaks cooking from a long way off. While we socialized, the campground staff was hard at work.


Dinner was Cesar Salad, a large beautifully done steak and a crispy skinned baked potato.


For desert there was an assortment of cookies, brownies and cake. Remember that all three meals cost us $17.50 a person.

After dinner we watched the Preakness horse race. Beforehand they auctioned off each of the horses in the race.  Once it was over the person that “owned” the winner got 60% of the pot made up of all the winning bids, second got 30% and third got 10%.


Someone then started handing out song sheets for a hymn sing. We discreetly departed.

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