Raven Cliff, part 2

7 01 2009

[Read part 1 of “Raven Cliff”]

Hiking form filled out, we set out for seven and a half miles of awesomeness. The fog still lay thick but the drizzle had subsided and the sun made a bright reverse silhouette behind the clouds. The intro to the trail was gravel, but quickly turned to leaves *slash* mud. Many slips and slides awaited each hiker. As we ascended to gradual slope to the Gum Gap trail, the mountainside fell away steeply to the soupy mist below forming “the end of the world”: white fog “as far as the eye can see.” [Inside joke] The trail quickly became a forum for important topics such as politics and bear scat.

Blue-blazed Gum Gap wraps around the valley between the parking lot and the falls, saving the legs of those who would rather not hike the killer Dismal Trail, which is blazed purple due to the bruises one will accrue to both body and heart. At the exit point of Gum Gap, Naturaland Trust trail picks up the last section to the falls and bids a goodbye to the upper Foothills Trail. The sound of rushing water greets hikers as they enter the pink-blazed Naturaland.

Down, down, down the trails descends to the creek below. The many cascades in the last half mile of the walk fill the air with the euphonic reverberations. A distant roar beckons all to see the powerful nature of Raven Cliff Falls with its distinctive set of plummeting waters. The trail, almost surprisingly, drops hikers onto a suspension bridge hanging over the first of the high rims. [One begins to wonder how the construction of such a thing could happen so far from roads.]

The shutter on the SLR could hardly get a rest. Shot after shot attempted to take in all that could be seen. Fog lay just off the edge of the tallest drop and all but the highest point of the mountain across the valley was obscured from view. The undulating bridge, with much help from our jumping, would have no firm footing, so we made the excursion down to the rocks. Both the trip down and the rocks themselves would prove to be much slicker than in past visits. With wet pants and muddy shoes, we made our way along. At the bottom, the sun shone brightly through the narrow opening in the trees made by the creek above us and burned the fog away at the base of the falls.

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