Friday, April 05, 2013

Tim Ernst: Slot Canyon Falls

Tim Ernst

Since I can't actually live in the Ozarks, I do so vicariously, partly through emails from Uncle Cran about his farm and Cousin Bill about his gardening and partly through visiting Tim Ernst's website for his fine photographs of Ozark wonders in the wilderness, like this waterfall and pool situated in a hard-to-reach hollow, about which he himself has some words to say:
It took me three tries to reach this waterfall, and I've only been to it once. The route up through the narrow, SLICK, slot canyon is tricky, dangerous, and not recommened. After fighting the swift current, and making my way up the canyon without the use of any handholds (the canyon walls are very smooth and there is nothing to grab), the passage was blocked with a giant boulder. I had to climb up on top of the boulder and found this scene, which is one of my most favorite waterfall images of all time. Enjoy!
Mr. Ernst has even more to say in his entry for April 1, 2013:
I was out yesterday exploring a new area in the wilderness and found a waterfall . . . . It was a neat waterfall -- probably 25-30 feet tall -- but I could see there was something else above it -- the large sheer bluffface was broken into at least two different levels, and I wanted to get up onto that second level to see what was going on.

I worked my way along the base of the bluff a couple hundred yards to where I found a spot where an old log had fallen from above and provided a conduit for me to climb up onto the next level . . . One up on the ledge I started to make my away along the base of the new bluff back towards the waterfall . . . . and I just had to stop and shake my head and smile a little bit in wonder. There was an overhang at the bottom of the bluff about three feet tall, and it went back in a couple of feet. I love to follow along the bases of blufflines like this one - there is frequently interesting stuff right there along the ledge . . . . Another hundred yards later I came around a bend in the bluff and there it was -- the second layer of the waterfall, and this one was more beautiful than the first, spilling into an emerald pool, and surrounded by painted sandstone bluffs. That was the end of the ledge, and there was not way to climb up farther -- which I really needed to do because it looked like there might be a THIRD waterfall up there!

So I retraced my steps . . . and continued exploring along the base of the bluff until I found a spot where I could make my way all the way up to the top of the big bluff. Once on top I sat down on a moss-covered boulder and got an incredible view out across the landscape that was spread out before me. The sun was shining and it was just one of THOSE moments out there in the middle of the wilderness -- it was so serene and beautiful.

A little while later I made my way along the top of the big bluffline until I came to the waterfall drainage, and sure enough, there was indeed a third waterfall -- but it was actually down below me, and I never could find a way to get down onto the hanging bench that it poured onto.
Mr. Ernst's quest this time thus ended in failure, sadly -- but he still got a beautiful picture for his trouble, though whether of the second or third pool, I can't securely determine, but I think it's the second, insofar as I can judge from his description.

I sorely wish I could hike such paths as his off-the-path walks . . .

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