Monday, September 6, 2010

Austin's Journey: Comet Falls

I took an unexpected trip to one of the destinations in my debut novel, Never Eighteen.  I hiked up to Comet Falls, which I haven't done in probably ten years.  I realized I didn't do it justice in the book, and I'd forgotten many of its details through the years. It's 3.8 miles and will take about three hours round trip, you get there early enough, you could be home by noon.

It starts out kind of steep, as you hike up the mountain.  You're rewarded fairly quickly though,  because about a quarter mile in you cross a bridge and hit Christine Falls.  To the right is a view from the bridge.  You walk side by side with the falls, while it snakes up the mountain side.  Then you begin to weave through the trees, the sound of the falls waxing and waning with every turn.

The hike evens out a bit and then you start to climb natures stairs again.  This is when I realize how out of shape I am. lol.  I take it slow, not only because it's hard, but because there is so much to see. Rock, trees, plants, animals.  I normally will see a marmot on the hike, and am always praying a cougar or black bear doesn't find me, but this time only ran into a tiny field mouse, .

A ways in, the din of the falling water becomes louder and you come into a "Y".  Water falling from two separate sources, Comet Falls, and Van Trump Creek, that latter looks more like a waterfall than a creek.  You can get a good view of the "creek" from a narrow, one rail bridge, which is in the photo below.

Many who've never been there before think this is their destination.  I wonder how many have turned back without experiencing the real attraction.  If you're ever on that hike, make sure you go past the bridge.  Comet Falls is a little bit further and is worth the aches and pains to get there.

You cross the bridge and this is where the steeper, harder, switchbacks start.  The temperature drops, the sound of Comet Falls resonates through the forest.  You may, if you're in the same shape I'm in, want to give up.  But if you continue, your mind, heart, and soul will thank you for it.  I've been there on clear days, and it's beautiful.  That day happened to be overcast , and when we reached our destination, the water looked as if it were falling straight from the sky.

You can climb right down to the base of the falls, and on a hot day, it would be refreshing.  We stayed up a little higher because it was cold out, but still felt mist on our faces.  It's definitely a sight to behold.  If you're ever in the area and love to hike, I highly recommend Comet Falls. 

Thanks for reading.


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