lance preps for another exposure above murhut creek

The portrait below is from Saturday when Lance and I visited Murhut Falls. I’m going to lobby the USGS to rename Murhut Falls to McCoy Falls. For me, Murhut is synonymous with Lance. He has rekindled an innocent love affair with woods and water here on a regular basis over the years. It’s not the most spectacular waterfall in the state (which is not exactly a damning statement around here) but it’s a relatively unknown gem in one of the Olympic Mountains’ beloved eastern range watersheds. I think he loves it there exactly because it isn’t one of the legendary falls someplace like the Columbia River Gorge or the Washington Cascades that every shutterbug instantly recognizes. Murhut gets its share of visitors, but part of its charm is the trail to this big waterfall is relatively new and it isn’t yet a household word among nature lovers in our area. I’m very lucky- for all three of my visits, Murhut has been a torrent of whitewater. This has its disadvantages, namely the exposure difficulties. The contrast at Murhut between whitewater and very dark mossy rock is some of the gnarliest I’ve ever tried to shoot through. It doesn’t look bad, but geez…..it’s dark in there!  The spillways here are sheltered in wonderfully confusing glens of tumbled mossy rock and downed trees. During times of high volume (e.g., heavy rain, Spring run-off) the base of the main falls is very misty, which is enchanting when you don’t have a camera but a pain in the ass if you do. The 130 foot drop may be the main centerpiece of the short Murhut Falls trail, but downstream there’s a wondrous bounty of scenic treasures. There’s a downstream section of falls containing perhaps one of the most unusual, beguiling features I’ve ever laid eyes on in a watercourse- a huge, salal-covered downed fir forms a natural bridge over a 12 or 15 foot spillway. Water disappears into the log at the border of the spillway only to exit mid-air ten feet later via a hole in the bottom of the log! I’m really pleased with several images I captured of that salal log, I can’t wait to share them.

I also came away with a nice group of shots featuring Lance moving about Murhut Creek. And some of what I call “short landscapes”, detail pictures of the surrounding terrain. When I got home on Saturday night, I thought to myself sheesh, we actually spent five or six hours at Murhut Falls? What in the fricking world did we do that entire time? Slugs could rappel up and then back down the falls faster than I could take a hundred pictures!  I love losing all sense of time in the woods like we did on Saturday. If I hadn’t had to get back to town for a New Year’s Eve party that night and Lance hadn’t fallen waist-deep in the river and given himself borderline hypothermia and and started babbling about taking him home on country roads and mountain mamas, we probably would have stayed a few more hours.

There’s a little story behind this picture, involving me crossing Murhut Creek (via slippery log) like an arthritic gorilla.

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