Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 17, 2015 - Grassy Creek Falls and Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest

DuPont State Forest was calling our names again today, so now it was just a matter of deciding which trails.  I hadn't been to Grassy Creek Falls since 2006 and had seen online where there had been some trail improvements for viewing the waterfall, so that was first on the list.  There are several ways to get to this waterfall, and we decided on Buck Forest Rd to Lake Imaging Rd to the Grassy Falls Trail.  Here are more detailed directions from my web site.

A new (since my last visit) section of trail leads to the top of the waterfall, but unfortunately the trail that leads to the base has been blocked by a downed tree with a 'Do Not Enter' sign nailed to it.  The Friends of DuPont Forest site still says the trail is open and another site mentions a viewing platform which isn't there either.  I emailed FODF and got a reply saying the trail was closed due to safety concerns. So now if you go, the only view is looking down the waterfall from the top of the falls. The first picture below is from today's hike, then there's a photo from my 2006 visit (note the difference in water flow), then a GoPro video I shot from today's visit to Grassy Creek and Hooker Falls.

top of Grassy Creek Falls - November 2015
base of Grassy Creek Falls - October 2015

On the way back to the parking area, Cindy wanted to stop and shoot the covered bridge.  I spotted some American climbing fern (Lygodium palmatum) nearby.  If you didn't know, you might not guess that this was a fern!

American Climbing Fern

We still had time for something else after this hike, so we decided on seeing what was up at Hooker Falls.  The very short hike is from another nearby parking area.  Directions are here.  When we got parked, Cindy noticed a guy and said 'that looks like Jeff from Meanderthals.'  And sure enough it was!  Jeff has an excellent hiking blog that you really should check out.  The link is here

The first view of Hooker Falls is from the top of the waterfall as you walk by on the trail.  The forest service is trying to prevent people from climbing down to the waterfall from here, so there are quite a few 'Do Not Enter' signs and crime scene tape to discourage people from doing so.  Unfortunately, there was no way to get a photo without the tape, so I didn't take one.  I hope they do something else more photographer friendly in the future.  The next view is from in front of the waterfall and is the main area where people hang out and swim.  Down here they have done an excellent job of restoring the creek bank and making the area safer for visitors.  Hooker Falls is the last waterfall on Little River before it empties into Cascade Lake.  I shot more video than I took pictures here, but here's a shot of Cindy in front of the waterfall.  The rocks in the foreground are part of the restoration project.

Cindy in front of Hooker Falls