Return to Murray Falls
May 1, 2006

Two-and-a-half years ago I almost fell to my death at Murray Falls, and was forbidden by my dear wife from ever returning. I had slipped, dislocated my  shoulder, and wound up straddling three young trees at the edge of a cliff beside the falls. I knew Stacey would eventually relax her stance and be o.k. with me going back. Yet this was much more than another item on my “must be seen” list; it was unfinished business.
I was beginning to wonder if I would ever return to Murray Falls. That fateful November morning seemed so long ago, and every time we had a big rain some other waterfall was calling my name.
Then finally on a Monday afternoon when the load at work was light and I saw the opportunity to go waterfall chasing, Murray Falls was the obvious choice. I needed a spot that was a short drive away and only required a brief hike.
I parked at the Cherry Bend Trailhead north of Cass and headed down the hiking trail. It was THE steepest trail I can remember, and I abandoned it for the woods early on. I went straight down the hillside to intersect with the creek running down the hollow, then hung a right and walked downstream.
I stopped at a neat little waterfall where the stream split into two before spilling over a small ledge. The two halves met up as they hit the pool below, giving the waterfall a “V” shape.
Soon I was at the top of Murray Falls, where the stream flows over a large, flat rock before tumbling over the edge. Going to the right would take me along that steep hillside where I’d had the accident; that wasn’t an option! To the left was a another hillside, but I could make out a faint trail going up it. I followed the trail and in a few minutes I was on top of a mound and going back down hill toward the edge of the box canyon.
A side stream came in here, forming a pretty waterfall a mere 30 feet away from the lip off the canyon. This stream fell over the canyon edge 29 feet forming what Tim Ernst has named Senyard Falls.
Past this second waterfall I found a break in the bluffline where I could climb down inside the box canyon. I headed upstream and walked underneath Senyard Falls and to the base of Murray Falls.
On the way out I made a detour and walked directly below Senyard Falls. I remember thinking that the boys would love the place. The smaller stream soon joined the main stream below Murray Falls, near a nice small waterfall just upstream.
I had stayed much too late, and it was pretty dark down in the hollow. I made my way back toward the truck as quickly as possible,  though I was without a flashlight. I used my GPS receiver to guide me back, but on the steep hillside below the parking area I ran into the worst tangle of fallen trees and sticker vines I’d ever seen (or rather felt, since it was pretty dark by then!).