To Walk Behind Waterfalls

To Walk Behind WaterfallsIt was early morning, with naught but calm ripples left over from the last few days of storms. It was a perfect day. Perfect weather, with mild clouds sailing past on the breeze, water like glass that could shatter at any moment. We were on our way, to adventure, excitement, and thrill, but at the moment we were just caught in the moment of silence. Even with the sound of the motor thrusting us across the surface of the lake, we were still in silence, catching here and there subtle things that in normal life would be ignored. The scents of summer, floating, hinting of freshness, and clarity. You could definitely slow down and begin to think about life, as everything seemed to stand still amid the calm surroundings disturbed only by our wake. We were truly out there, and heading even further out. But then we would come back to reality, and realize it was not a dream, but instead just another day in Alaska.Boating into Little Lake Clark

Our destination was cave falls, which was 27 miles away as the crow flies, but since we were in a boat, it would end up being about an hour drive. Being within the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, there were no roads that connected us to the outside world, so it gave us almost unlimited accessibility to the endless lake front that beckoned for us to explore. The Cave falls are unique in the way that they are literally that, both a huge cavern of a cave and a waterfall that cascades down, over a hundred feet. It is nothing short of awe inspiring, and something that is hard to miss even when flying in, but to actually get up to it, to feel the powerful wind that is created mixed with mist, gives you so much more of a well rounded experience. The falls however are not on the same lake, but rather are on a smaller portion of Lake Clark, called Little Lake Clark, separated by a small channel which must be navigated with utmost care as not to get stuck in the endless sand flats that border the channel.

Past MountainsSince we were able to get going at a decent time in the morning, and thankful to the endless summer sun, we had plenty of time to stop for a short bit at the Kijik River, to replenish our food supply with fresh Grayling. They were so abundant that it did not take long for us to catch our fill for the overnight trip which was ahead of us. Back on the water again, we switched to following the right short line, heading North East up the Lake. We passed several streams, rivers, and valleys along the way, all of which were yearning for our attention, and would have quite a bit to offer, however, we had a mission to accomplish, so we pressed on, with  our bow loaded down with camping and climbing equipment. We were not only going on a sight seeing trip, but a hands on adventure. The further along we went, the more rugged the mountains began to get, which was a good sign.
Beauty and the Boat
Rounding the bend, we arrived at the change of water color, where the drainage of the river had dumped so much sand and silt that it had become a huge sandbar when the water level was low enough. We had to maneuver the channel, making slow progress due to the varying water depth and speed of flow that would push us back out of the channel if we didn’t keep our heads on straight. Thankfully we had a great team that kept every thing going smooth. Once out of the murky soot, we then got out into Little Lake Clark, and then we began to experience a whole new ecosystem. Deep aqua blue colors in the water, waterfalls cascading down huge rock faces. It all resembled the Fjords in Norway. Although the area was spectacular in itself, our destination was still waiting for us.
Cave Falls
As we rounded the point, we could see it. A massive gaping hole in mountain side, with an enormous river of water that was suspended in mid air for quite some time, before crashing and falling upon the the enormous boulders that were piled up at the bottom. It was a gorgeous sight, even from a mile away. We were not content however to merely gaze from a distance, so we pointed the boat towards the overhanging greenery that outlined one of the creeks feeding the deep blue water. Pulling up to the shore edge, we jumped off, secured the boat well, with packs slung and hearts pumping, we set off for Cave Falls. calm streamThe hike was uneventful, and it was not a difficult climb, but we had to watch out for the sharp and evil looking “Devils Club”, ( a broad leafed plant) which bordered our trail. to the base of the falls. The stream that we followed was boulder strewn, and created for a tranquil background noise to the already surreal environment that was surrounding our movement. Long before we reach the falls however, we could hear it. Nearing the edge of where the bushes ended and the green and mist began, our hearts skipped a few beats. But then we arose onto the small plateau and continued our gaze up, We found ourselves face to face with an incredible monster of a moving water. Over a hundred feet high, when the water hits the base of the pool, it becomes a wind tunnel, that shoots mist all over the area, causing it to be very green, and pleasant to spend time in.
Deep inside the Cave

The thunder that was being emitted from the waterfall seemed to be amplified by the huge cave behind. The feeling of serenity changed back to excitement. But it did not stop there. Then we began to ascend the left side of the water fall into the cavern behind as the mist began to surround us.

To be continued. Look for the rest of this adventure in Part 2 of To Walk Behind Waterfalls.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.