Tony’s been so excited about our new backpacks that every time we have a few days, he starts talking about going camping. The nice thing about his flexible hours is that if there’s nothing pressing at work, he can take a weekday off and make up the time after hours or over the weekend. So, last Wednesday, we went to St. Mary’s Falls for the second time. It seems kind of unbelievable, but it’s been nearly four years since we were there last (Tony wrote about it here. One thing I can say for sure is that Tony got his wish – the water was quite a bit higher this time!
We got to the parking area at around 4:00. There were only four other cars parked there, so we very nearly alone, if not truly alone, by the time we passed four groups of people going in the opposite direction. It took us almost four hours to get in as far as we camped the last time because we were being careful to make sure our feet didn’t get too deep in the water. Last time we hiked St. Mary’s Falls, it was very dry and we walked quite a bit of the way in the dry bed. This year, the water was over our ankles at some of the crossings. We tried to jump from rock to rock, but at the last crossing, there were no rocks to use. We tried to tiptoe across the river, but the water was high enough that it just went over the tops of our boots.
We couldn’t get to the campsite we had last time because there was so much water over the last set of falls that we just couldn’t get up them. At that point, we turned around and went back to a site that Tony noticed last year looked like a nice spot.
The new site was pretty nice, if a little cramped. As you can see in the photo above, our tent was pretty near the fire pit. That wasn’t all bad because our boots were wet and we spent some of the evening with bare feet, trying to get our boots to dry before we put the fire out for the night. The fire did a better job than I anticipated it would – by the morning, my boots were dry enough that I couldn’t feel the wetness through my socks when I put them on. Not only that, but it made us some dinner too! Sausages and marshmallows made for a satisfying dinner before we turned in.
The trip out was much faster for one reason: I fell into the river on the first crossing we attempted and Tony chased in after me to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. Tony is definitely better at crossing a pair of branches (sticks, really) from the bank to a rock in the middle of the river. He had crossed and was standing on the rock looking for the best place to go next. I had gotten all the way from the bank to the rock when the branches shifted under me and I slipped right into the water. I managed to not fall on my rear, but Tony grabbed for my hand to try to save me. I managed to pull him in right after me. I found out later that he only got a little bit of water in one boot. I, on the other hand, was wet to my knees. After that, we didn’t worry nearly as much about finding the perfect place to cross to keep as dry as possible. If I didn’t see a simple way to get across without getting too wet, I just charged through, no longer caring how dry I stayed. Not only was I already wet, but we were on our way home to clean, dry clothes.
If you’re interested, there are more pictures here.