Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ice Falls

A large cascade of frozen waterfalls, blue-green in color.
A seasonal waterfall. Apparently "seasonal" includes winter.

Last weekend, Kyle and I snowshoed at Hungarian Falls. We did something new for me: we started at the bottom of the gorge and worked our way up to the first (and largest) waterfall, following the iced-over stream. Actually, the stream was just starting to melt -- although we followed the well-established snowshoe trails, we still had to deal with a few dodgy spots and near-soakings.

Green ice in a frozen waterfall, viewed from behind.Along the way, we found this beauty of a frozen waterfall -- where no waterfall should be! This is actually a seasonal waterfall, along the side of the gorge. In this case, "seasonal" apparently includes winter. This is every bit as huge as it looks -- towering far above us and requiring a certain amount of skill to get even this close. The colors here are pretty accurate -- they're even a bit more green in real life (to add to the blue ice from Copper Harbor). As a bonus photo, check out how green it appears in the photo on the side here -- I took this photo when we'd climbed half of the way up the side of the waterfall, and found an ice cave behind the waterfall.

Finally, after viewing the main falls from below, we decided it was time to go back... straight up the gorge. As it turned out, that wasn't the most brilliant idea, and we learned the true meaning of "upclimbing is easier than downclimbing". But truly, it's not a hike with Kyle and me if there aren't a few terror-filled moments, with your entire weight supported by a sapling, 50 feet above the gorge floor, wondering just how well you really can sled on snowshoes. Ahem, Mom and Dad, don't read that previous paragraph.

For non-Yoopers, Hungarian Falls are a series of some of the largest waterfalls in the Keweenaw, all collected together in a deep and very steep gorge. The gorge and falls complex also included a large reservoir used by the Calumet and Hecla mining company to power its mills (including the Ahmeek Mill right downstream from these falls). They're also right in the town of Tamarack City, easy to access and a popular place for Michigan Tech students to go hiking.

7 comments:

Light Stalking said...

I really love the eerie green in that second shot. Great work.

LisaNewton said...

I love these pictures. The various colors of the falls are fascinating, but boy does it look cold.

Ilan said...

This is truly amazing.
Reminds me Superman's secret lair in some way :)
Amazing place, amazing scenery.

DC said...

@Light Stalking: thanks! It really was glowing like that, too -- and water was rushing around inside the ice!

@LisaNewton: Thanks. :) I've never seen so many cool ice colors as I have this winter. Maybe next winter I'll head out with food coloring...

@Ilan: Hehe, yes, it was a regular fortress of solitude -- hidden far away, and the second photo is even in the back of a cave -- quite secret.

The Really Sarcastic Weasel said...

I've tromped up Hungarian falls from the bottom up, but never in winter. You've lost your mind.

Speaking of people losing their minds, check out the special seminar in Dow 642 at 4:00 tomorrow (tomorrow being 03/19/09) if you are currently in Snoughton.

Linda K said...

e were just hiking up Hungarian Falls last Friday. My son goes to Mich Tech and he took us there for an outing. Very nice hike and the falls are beautiful.

DC said...

@Linda -- I bet you guys got to see the waterfalls at their very best! The melt has been good this year. Glad you liked it. :)