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Dripping Springs Drainage,
Mount Magazine
April 21, 2006

During one of the many times that I’d gazed out across the vast forested landscape beneath Cameron Bluff, I heard the rushing sound of water below. Though I had previously recognized several small draws running down the mountain, it never occurred to me that there might be waterfalls down there. Were there any? Suddenly I had another place on my list that just had to be seen.
I did my usual research using topographic maps and GPS software, which resulted in my storing directions in the GPS receiver to several drainages that crossed a forest service road below the mountain. I first visited the small stream below Dripping Springs with Grant late one warm Sunday afternoon in March. I saw enough to know it was worth further exploring during a rainy season. So when the first decent rainfall of Spring tracked across Mount Magazine, Joey and I left work early to explore my stream.
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The surrounding woods sloped down toward the stream, but were nice and open, and the forest floor was fairly even. However the stream seemed to always have one bank that was too steep to navigate, so we did a lot of zig-zagging from one side to the next. It was warm and muggy, and Man! was I out of shape. I’d only been on two other hikes in the last five months. This bushwhack was uphill all the way.
There really weren’t that many pretty spots on the stream. The water tended to flow between countless large rocks. In a couple of interesting places the water had carved deep curving undercuts into solid rock, but trees had fallen next to them and wrecked my desire to take pictures.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great hike. I’d never seen so much Virginia Creeper in one spot, and it was nice not to see as much Poison Ivy as usual. I spotted the leaves of several early spring wildflowers, including Trout Lilies, Bloodroot, and Dutchman’s Breeches. I’ll have to come back another spring when they’re in bloom.
The stream seemed to alternate between steep drops and relatively flat sections. Every time we saw a steep section up ahead I’d say “This could be it... looks like a good spot for a waterfall”. But time after time it was just another area where the water ran between individual rocks. One thing that kept us going was the knowledge that we were only going to hike three-fourths of a mile from the truck.
Finally we heard a rushing of water much louder than anything else so far, and an excited scramble uphill revealed the first real waterfall of the season.
It was around 20 feet tall, including a 12-foot lower section that was actually a gentle cascade down a layered rock face.
It would have been a steep climb to get up above the falls, and it looked like there was more steep terrain above that, so we turned around and slowly hiked back to the truck. I was gratified to know that, yes, there was a waterfall down there below Cameron Bluff.
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