Douglas Falls & Below – North Fork Blackwater River


I’ve been down here a number of times and always wanted to go further, but had guests and didn’t have time.  This year I was almost dragged down to Kennedy Falls.  I had hoped to do this on my own after everyone had gone home, and even budgeted some time for it, but, my friend Jim is so inquisitive that we ended up down in the creek at the worst of times.  It began to rain as we headed down over the coal dust on the side of the trail.  It was a pretty easy descent, though very loose and slippery, and no one broke any bones, however, we did have some adventure.

Once down in the bottom of the gorge, we had to traverse along the creek and at the last, came to a not so tall, but not so easy cliff to descend to finish.  It was only about 10 feet down, and there were natural steps, but it was mostly vertical and you can’t see below the rocks.

We fastened a rope, and I began the descent.  I was about to set my foot down on the ground, when I realized there was a snake below my feet.  I hate snakes, and immediately thought the worst, and that it was a copperhead.  It sort of looked like one at a glance and in a state of panic, I scampered back up the cliff.

We later realized it was not a copperhead, but didn’t know what it was and felt safer shooing it away with the rope.  It finally left and we continued on down into the creek, watching for the snake and passing gear down by the rope.

At this point the rain let up, and we got in a few shots.  I was really happy that Jim had pushed the envelope and got us down there because I had been wanting Kennedy for awhile.  AND the light was right.

I set about getting my shots and did some wide angle with my 14-24mm with my new CPL which really is a godsend for this lens.  Later I switched over to the 24-70mm with CPL and ND filters, but soon realized that they were not necessary, as the light was perfect.

Just as soon as I had gotten my close up shots and started heading down the river for the long low shot, it started to pour rain.  I quickly took off my shirt and covered my camera and headed back up stream to pack up.  Jim was still fussing about and only got a couple of shots when the thunder struck and we thought maybe we were a bit deep in the woods for this kind of situation and decided to hit it.

It was not an easy assent and it poured all the way back to the trucks and we were soaked to the bone, but I got my shot.  I could have used a few more, but happy, and Jim kept trying to figure a way to get someone to go back down there with him before we headed for home.  I think he was a bit disappointing, but now he has a reason to go back with me.  And we will go back, and further down this wonderful river.

Kennedy Falls, North Fork of the Blackwater River. 17 May 2015 @ 2PM EDT

Earlier in the day, I had wondered down below Douglas Falls and shot these two areas, but couldn’t find a safe way down to shoot this second fall from the river level.  Need to find another trail or bring my swim suit.




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