Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yes a Waterfall, Where Else Would I Go?

Really there isn't much to be said of fall color right now in the lower elevation areas. It is just hitting the edge of turning. Up in the higher mountains the season will probably have run its course rather soon. After a ridiculous day of baking yesterday (which deserves a post in itself) I was going to take the day off and relax at home. As soon as I woke up and light was pouring through my curtains I knew that I couldn't waste the day without regretting it later. As of late I've developed a new mantra, when there is sunshine I have to go for a drive. This way I make the most of the prime weather and can't look back wishing I had done more. After I got my spare camera battery juiced up and after consuming a pumpkin muffin, I drove over to Yasui Valley.

I never seem to grow tired of going there. There is plenty there to keep myself happy and interested. I think most people who go there don't begin to understand what lies in the clefts of the valleys. Most go and look at one waterfall it seems. It's the most accessible. Always good for me as the rest of the places I have free to myself. It's actually hard sometimes to run into people. Sometimes if a car is parked at a remote spot I hope to meet someone. I'm sure they never conceived the notion that a foreigner might stare them in the face out in the middle of nowhere.

It took about 1 hour to get to the trail head. A good 15-20 minutes is probably spent driving along a forestry road. Oh how I love those. Surprisingly the road got better since last time I was on it. I think it was because of some construction they were doing 4km up the road. Large dump trucks and cement mixers were running on this road which pulverized the road flatter. The sign by the trail said 1.5km to the the waterfall. That is about 1 mile I guess?

Find the way!

The fall was somewhere back in there but one problem, just how do you get over there? I had seen pictures that were taken closer to the waterfall so I had to do a bit of exploring. I kind of dislike when the path isn't explicit but I also kind of like finding it as well. Just as long as it doesn't become an impossible task. Luckily the rock fall I decided to head up first brought me to a rope which in the middle of nowhere is usually a good indicator of where to head. Not always though but I'll get to that later.

This is for you Mom

I went up the small rope and it led to another smaller path with some ropes tied along side it. This took me around the upper edge of the rock face that is in the first photo. This is facing backwards on the path. If you look close you can see how narrow this little path section was. Notice the slight drop off to the right. At least there were ropes. No need to worry mom, just yet.

Getting a little closer now.

Above Otabi Shallows

Some more rope action.

Otabi Ropeway Lower

Finally made it to the base of the falls. At least you could call it that. There is no other way than swimming in order to get close to the literal base of the falls. But where is the waterfall you ask?

Opening from the fall

The waterfall is hidden in this cleft of rock. Makes viewing difficult but pretty nonetheless.

Otabi Half

If you adjust to the left 45 degrees you might see this...

The Crevice

As viewing angles were somewhat limited I wonder if it was possible to get to the top of the waterfall. I hadn't seen any pictures of video from that perspective. I soon would know why not. I headed back up the rope way and back across the bridge to get to another trail that went up to a meeting hall for a shrine. I had to walk past some buildings and found another trail. I wasn't specifically trying to get to the top of the waterfall but figured I would see what was around at least. I found some latrines and could only think where that sewage was going... I hope it wasn't connected to the river somehow... I found a new path and it started ascending up a little bit. My new plan was to take the path and hope it came out on the main road. Before I could get very far I found a path that descended down. I stopped for a minute and contemplated. "Well this might take me to the top of the fall," or "It might just go down to nowhere interesting." I also thought, "Oh you are tired, you can just explore another time." Screw all that nonsense. I was all the way out there. I was going to explore!

This trail wasn't the best but not too terrible. It slowly winded down and I could hear the roaring water. I knew I was headed in the right direction to see the falls. Then I came to the sort of thing I always hope to avoid. Steep slippery narrow paths with leaves and other debris. I almost turned back but carefully navigated down. The details... well... I'll just let you imagine what it took to get to here. It WAS NOT very easy. That's for sure.

Otabi Fall From Above

The view is obscured by some trees unfortunately. I don't mind. This view was great. 50 meters of water falling. I even climbed down farther to get out on the rocks by the fall. It was nice just sit there and look into the basin below. Oh look it's me and you can see down to where I was earlier. Pretty nifty right? Don't worry I was happy. I just had to look suave for the photo.

Always Another Way Up

On the way back toward the car I took a detour up some path by that shrine I had passed earlier. I thought it was a main route but it really didn't end up going anywhere. I went up some pretty treacherous terrain. Mostly wet rocks and things I didn't want to go back down. I thought I would end up on the main road. But as things got more precarious I just had to settle and go back down. I safely made it. That's great because I made some awesome hamburgers when I got home. Good for me, good for me.

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