Rockway Falls Hike – 200803-02
Current mood: enthralled
Category: Travel and Places
Sunday, March 02 – 2008
13:00 – 17:15
Roads: Wet from melting snow
Area: Rockway Falls
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Bright & Sunny, no wind
Trail Conditions: Deep Snow Covered with ice
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Chuck, Merlin, Morgana
Plan: Hike to the Rockway Falls
GPS: 43.1111 -79.3228
13:00 We arrived at the community center near the top of Rockway falls & kitted up. Wolf wore Faded Glory boots, gaiters, blue jumpsuit, ski-mask, ESS goggles & camelbak hydration pack. Tori wore her rubber boots which she discovered had some splits in them, nylon pants, khaki sweater, parka and black camelbak backpack.
13:08 We hit the trails and started to make our way but wanted to have a quick look at the top of the falls from the road. Tori stayed back and Chuck & Wolf went to have a look.
13:10 We started along the trails to find they were not well traveled but had seen a little use lately.
13:15 We came across a small sign attached to a tree near a picturesque lookout which was dedicated to Ryan Patrick McGrath who died May 02 – 2005 and had an Irish poem on it which started “May the road rise to meet you”.
13:18 We continued on to a nice outcroppong and grabbed a few more photos.
13:26 We came across a few giant boulders which led to a bit of a drop-off which we all carefully navigated as the calf-deep snow had a layer of ice underneath. We kept going until we saw an area that looked suitable for a relatively safe descent.
13:50 We began our descent to find out very quickly that the snow covered area had a layer of ice underneath and would be best done on our buttocks. Chuck got quite a bit of speed on, and I followed soon after. We caught the descent on video.
14:08 We got to the bottom of our first large ass-descent to find ourselves confronted with more descent to the bottom of the canyon.
14:14 I descended down the steep embankment at a slow pace only to be stopped by a tree which was on the edge of a 1m drop. I slowly navigated down the drop & helped Morgana down it. Chuck took a more treacherous route which led to more sliding on his part.
14:20 I caught his slide and Tori’s slide on video as she took the same route as Chuck, followed by Merlin at her side.
14:22 We started along the canyon floor to come across some fantastic and beautiful rock formation and frozen streams which still had water flowing under it. There were a few areas which still had water exposed. Some of the waterflows made very nice eddy’s under the clear, thin ice.
15:01 We ended up splitting up as Chuck started climbing up the canyon walls and Tori and I headed closer towards the falls over the large, ice covered boulders.
15:20 We reached the waterfall and we were a little leery about going over the frozen, snow covered water in the event the water carved a big hollow under the ice and it collapsed as we could fall through.
15:25 As we started to ascend the rockface, we saw a cave not too far from Chuck. We decided to ascent to it and have a closer look.
15:40 We arrived at the top of the canyon, near the cave to take some photos as a natural spring poured out of it. Sadly it was too small to enter very deeply. We took some photos and decided to find a way straight-up over the steep rocks.
15:55 We came to a spot where chuck had found while he was waiting for us, that he we could get up the top section of the rocks. We were at a crest in the gorge, but still had about 2m of large, sheer rocks above us. As Tori was lighter we sent her up first to find that t was too difficult even for her. Chuck and I surely could not attempt it. We decided to move on and see what lie ahead.
16:10 We arrived at a very dangerous looking area at the top of the canyon. Under a rocky outcropping, below the very top of the gorge, the area had been dripped on for quite some time and was a solid sheet of ice. Covered in s now. Chuck suggested throwing some rocks on the ice for traction but it did nothing. Since I was in the lead, I started to cross the 60cm wide tract of ice about 3m long on all fours. On one side a steep drop-off about 30M with sharp wood and construction supplies which had been dumped there, on the other side – more ice. About ½ way across the ice patch I started to slip. With no hand holds, very nervous, and with Merlin whining non-stop, I decided without an ice-ax and crampons it would be best if I turn back. Slowly, on all fours – I backed my way out of the area almost slipping to my doom on more than one occasion.
16:28 We arrived back at the top of the waterfall, descended to the frozen run-off and made our way back to the area where we came down originally. We went to take some photos of Chuck infont of the waterfall, and he fell through some of the ice up to his waist, we laughed and took some photos, then helped rescue him from being stuck.
16:31 We passed some young people dressed in running shoes & jogging suit shirts on the trails.
16:40 We arrived at our ascent point to fond another couple descending, also mostly on their buttocks.
16:45 After completing our ascent we arrived at the top of the gorge & Chuck wanted some videos of his descent so he did it again and we caught it on film.
17:00 We started our way back to the car when Morgana made a wrong move and fell between some rocks. Chuck and Wolf went on up ahead and Tori rescued her.
17:10 We watched the young people in the gorge to make sure they were okay as this can be a dangerous place in the winter.
17:10 We arrived back at the car, and stripped off our gear to head for home.