We did three different hikes today, the first to Deadline Falls, the second to Susan Creek Falls, and the third to Fall Creek Falls. Flashes of sunlight between clouds combined with the dark dense forest (and a bit of exertion thrown in) had us shedding layers to cool off... then adding layers to warm up... then shedding again, etc. all afternoon. Overall though, the day was perfect for short hikes like these.
The hike back to Fall Creek Falls was an ascending mile that took us through a narrow slit in a basalt rock wall, (we jokingly referred to as a "fat man filter"), through a valley strewn with boulders covered with a thick carpet of moss, a path wet and slippery in places, and only two sounds -- either flowing bubbling water or complete silence. Let me explain.
|still able to slip through the "fat man filter"|
We even walked off the path and into the dry creek bed where it was accessible. It was obvious that water had flowed here in some considerable volume in the not too distant past... like, probably this past Spring. But walking from one side of the bottom of the canyon to the other side, (it wasn't far... maybe less than 100 feet) there was no flowing water at that point.
The only plausible explanation we could come up with was that the creek had found a porous spot in the creek bed where the water could flow into an underground stream of sorts. Something along the lines of a natural culvert or drain tile, probably filled with rubble but porous enough to allow creek water to flow for some distance underground before re-emerging into the creek further down the hill.
There was no authority or ranger around to question about this, so we're left with what we saw and the hypothesis we came up with to explain it. It was the big mystery of the day.
More photos from our day are contained in an online album. Check them out if you have a chance.