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Stalking Waterfalls

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Yesterday, Steven Higgs and I spent the day in Jefferson County searching for waterfalls. The first one we found was Horseshoe Falls near or on Hanover College Campus. We were actually searching for several different waterfalls (Freemont, Butler, School house, and Chain Mill Falls). As we were driving around campus looking for a trail head, we stopped and asked a woman who was walking for directions. She pointed us to a trail head near the administration building, but was not sure if it led to the falls. While we were parked and setting up our gear, she told us she was going to check with a naturalist in the administration building. A couple of minutes later, she returned with a color trail map and descriptions! She even offered to drive us to the new trail head. Indiana hospitality at its best!

We hiked down a steep hillside to the valley floor and then switched to another trail that took us to Horseshoe Falls that was not on our list. It is a slippery climb down and up. If you go, I would recommend some sturdy hiking boots (mine were kept nice and clean in the closet….) and a walking stick. A couple of times I thought both of us were going to ski down the trail.

The falls had just the right amount of water flowing. After shooting the falls and climbing out of the valley, we went in search of the other falls on our list with no luck. Having driven a good distance, we decided to try our luck at Clifty Falls State Park. We could not access the lower part of the first falls from the first stop. Tunnel falls and Big Clifty Falls were both obscured by trees and brush. I might have been able to get a better shot of Big Clifty Falls with a telephoto lens that I did not have with me.

Inaugural Equipment Test

This trip was the inaugural trial of my Kelty backpack with a Mountainsmith camera insert. I really liked the configuration although I missed carrying an extra body and lens. However, the whole purpose was to limit what I could carry to avoid back problems. I managed to make the trip (slowly up hill) without any back pain or leg pain from overcompensation. It is slow to use the pack when setting up for a shot or putting equipment away, but this system is similar to many of the newer backpacks that use a pack and separate zippered bags allowing you different configurations. You have to first unzip the backpack, then remove the insert, and unzip it. But then again, landscape photos do not seem to move or change unless it is the light, so there is no need to rush. Slowing done gives you time to enjoy what you are photographing.

I chose the Kelty because of the internal frame and it is a backpack first and camera bag second. It also has straps to attach my tripod and room for a jacket and food. And yes, I could add another body and lens if I wanted to risk the pain the next day and return to physical therapy.

Horseshoe Falls Jefferson County IN

 

Steven Higgs at Horse Show Fall Jackson County IN

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