Kings River Falls
May 20, 2007
Joey was coming in from South Carolina for a visit and we planned to get together for a hike like old times. Kings River Falls Natural Area was the perfect destination: about a 90-minute drive from Van Buren, a short, flat hike, and the falls were running. Somewhere on the dirt road north of the old Boston community, Joey spotted a coyote standing in the middle of a field. The critter waited for me to pull over and put the big lens on my camera and snap a few pictures from inside the truck.
It was pretty chilly as we started down the trail heading downstream. The stream runs northward, so the sun was still behind the mountainside to the east. We saw a lot of wildflowers and a couple of small rapids that we wished we could have stopped for, but we were in a race with the sun to reach the big falls first.
We won that race, and I quickly unpacked the camera and tripod then climbed down to the base of the falls to shoot some pictures from underneath a ledge beside the falls. While climbing back up to a wide, flat rock that is even with the top of the falls, I noticed a snake sticking its head out from under a crevice. I’ve never been afraid of snakes so I hurried over to my backpack to change camera lenses then climbed back down for a closer encounter. The snake had disappeared.
I found Joey downstream taking pictures of wildflowers. Sounded like a good idea to me, and soon I was crouched down in front of some violet Spiderworts. A tiny black bee landed right on the flower I was shooting, and I moved the tripod even closer and started taking pictures of the insect. The sun had cleared the treetops and was beating down on me, and it started feeling like 90 degrees outside when less than an hour earlier temperatures were in the 50s.
I headed for the shade on the far side of the creek upstream of the falls. The water was spread out over a wide expanse of flat rock with numerous small channels, and I easily picked a path that kept my feet dry. There was a neat rock formation at the top of the falls where two separate channels converged just before the water spilled over the edge of the falls.
On the return hike we stopped several times to take pictures of Mountain Azalea blooms. They were thick along the stream bank in several locations, and we must have seen a hundred black butterflies floating from flower to flower.