In the spirit of being almost–but not quite–through a century of life, I convinced my BFF to go on a remote Chasing Waterfalls vacation. You know, based on that song:
Yeah, it makes no sense. Actually, I think it’s about taking dumb risks, which I’m terrible at. I’m also terrible at taking good risks, as is my BFF. So it’s worth noting that our first waterfall was a spontaneous add-on that required a turn around, an unpaved country road, and a dirt road so full of potholes and rocks that my Prius would have cried. Good thing we had her Outback.
We met an aging hippie woman drinking spritzers and beers with her twenty-something kid from Madison. She immediately asked if we were “waterfalling” and proceeding to give us directions to another unknown waterfall and an obscure viewpoint on a way to a popular falls. Spoiler: we were never able to find either.
We continued onward to another cute little falls known as Upsom Falls, found in Upsom Park. Absolutely nobody was there. It even had one of those old-fashioned iron pump-your-own-water pumps. I’m no longer confident enough in my immune system to drink from them, but they are nice for washing hands. 2020 bonus: port-a-potties now have hand sanitizers.
Look one way and there’s a nice, medium-sized falls with loads of rocks and deep pools, potentially perfect to play in. The other direction has a picturesque bridge.
We ventured on to Copper Falls, one of the ‘Top Five’ tallest in WI. The park actually comprises a network of falls. The new WordPress format is finicky, but first is Tyler Forks Cascade, then Copper Falls, a close-up of the cascade and Brownstone Falls. Well maintained and an easy walk. It also led to musings on the absolute pedestrian nature of white-people WI naming.
The next day we power-walked through to Lost Falls, were able to jump on a kayak trip for beginners (but don’t let them fool you, it wasn’t), and fit in Houghton Falls before dinner. The kayak trip contained a visit to a ‘keyhole’ cave, which we promptly renamed the ‘Hell, no’ cave, and a cave where we could see veins of banded iron, a rarity on the surface. We were brave enough for that one. Turns out Houghton Falls really isn’t a falls as much as a culvert used in the olden days to manage a large stream under a quarry and railroad loading spot.
The next day was rainy, so we went to Amicon falls,which has an extensive falls network. I played around a bit more with my photography. The area is comprised of compressed sandstone that has been worn away by the Amnicon River. There’s a smaller falls of a branch off called Snake Pit Falls (last picture) that has a significant drop.
The town was home to Maurices, a clothing store neither of us had seen for decades. When I was a pre-teen, it was The Place to shop. It’s reappearance caused me no end of glee every time I saw it, probably from remembering hyperventilating in those tight Coca-Cola jeans. Our hotel had a balcony, which gave me the opportunity to discover this interesting and previously unknown-to-me moth, an ilia underwing.
Last, but not least, was our final day. Potato Falls (no information on where that name comes from), Upper and Lower, and an attempt to find Giles Falls (hippie lady’s directions were thwarted by private land postings). My friend trusted Google maps more than I do, which led us down the unimproved (s)Carey Road, which lead us to a nice fall view. It was an absolutely beautiful trip. The late timing meant few people (therefore loads of social distancing) and almost no insects, a huge bonus when it comes to the northwoods.