Sunday, July 03, 2011

You Call This a Waterfall?

A few years ago Carole and I happened upon what both of us consider the most beautiful and most peaceful National Forest campground we've ever used. It's called Hurricane Campground in the mountains of southwest Virginia. This was fitting, considering that southwest Virginia is also one of the most beautiful regions we've ever visited. I could go there to camp and hike every week for a year and still only scratch the surface of wonderful places that should be seen before one kicks the bucket.

However, one of the points of the guidebooks and regional propaganda was a waterfall called Comer's Creek Falls. It was supposed to be one of the best waterfalls in an area packed cheek by jowl with waterfalls. Well, if so many had picked it out as a must-see location, then there was no way that I was going to be within striking distance and not make an effort to locate it.

My guidebooks indicated that you could hike right out of the Hurricane Campground and climb up to the Comer's Creek Falls. It wasn't a long hike--round trip of about six miles or so as I recall--so I didn't even wear boots. I just put on a pair of good tennis shoes and headed out with my hiking staff, some water, and my camera. I hiked up the mountain and followed the directions and finally came upon what was described as this spectacular waterfall.

Holy Humpin' Jove! It was a small cascade of maybe six or eight feet in height. On a tiny tributary to another stream. Well, since I'd hiked so far to see it, I decided to photograph the damned thing. It did have a certain charm to it, so it wasn't going to be a total waste of time. (No time spent in the southern Appalachian forests is ever wasted.)

Comer's Creek Falls. What a rook!

As I set up the tripod to snap some shots, I heard a sound.

Car doors slamming. Voices.

You guessed it. You can drive right up to this damned pitiful excuse for a waterfall. All of that hiking just to arrive at a National Forest road parking lot.

Yeah, I'm smilin'. But if I ever find the guy who wrote that guidebook I'm going to kick his ass.

If you're ever in the area, there are quite literally DOZENS, if not hundreds, of waterfalls that are far more spectacular than Comer's Creek Falls. Go see one of those. I'm not saying it's an ugly place--it's not--but be careful how much of the hype you believe in those damned guidebooks.

Rowlands Creek Falls. Down a side trail not far from Hurricane Campground. A genuinely spectacular waterfall well worth the steep hike to see it.


MarkGelbart said...

I wouldn't call it a waterfall.

MarkGelbart said...

I wouldn't call it a waterfall.

HemlockMan said...

Minor cascade, at best.