I packed my backpack, mostly with my camera gear, a granola bar, and a bottle of water. I checked the weather for the area we would be going in and it showed a 60% chance of rain around the time we would be there. We came up with a plan to go out to eat if it was raining when we go there. I checked the weather again, as we were driving down the road and it dropped to 50% chance of scattered storms. We looked at the beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds and thought, it was a perfect day to go hiking and see some waterfalls in Northeastern Ohio.
I'd done this trail a few times, once in the autumn, when the view was absolutely breathtaking. And once in the winter, when the waterfall was frozen solid.
I wanted to now because it has been raining more than the sun has been out, so I knew the waterfall would be a sight worth seeing. My brother asked it if was the hike would be harder than Spangler, a park I frequently hike at, and I assured him this was a leisurely hike with a few trouble spots but nothing he couldn't do. He let out a loud sigh, rolled his eyes, and wondered out loud what he had gotten into. I took the time to remind him, again, that he could have said no to this outdoor adventure. I did mention there might be some muddy spots and to dress accordingly. I checked the weather again before we headed into the woods, 40% chance of rain. The sky told us it was going to be a glorious hike.
I felt really silly putting on my backpack since I knew the hike was about a mile each way, but I didn't want to carry my camera around my neck the whole time, especially if it was going to be muddy. We headed in, down the slope, and said, "oh yeah, this is going to feel like a hill when we come back to the car, I forgot about that..."
The first waterfall was 1/6 of a mile hike. Blue Hen Falls. It's the popular waterfall, so there were people crowded around, snapping photos, and enjoying their Sunday afternoon.
However, my plan was to avoid Blue Hen Falls, and head straight for Buttermilk Falls, the waterfall that isn't marked on ANY of the signs in the area (which is just stupid, more people should know about Buttermilk...) This way, if the 40% chance of rain did fall upon us, we would be almost done with our hike or on our way back...I don't know, it made sense at the time.
About three steps in, my brother slid in the mud and did the funky chicken dance to keep himself from going down. Mom and I gasped and then applauded him when he landed on his feet, however, this was the beginning of his "worst-decision-of-my-life-to-go-hiking" attitude. Because, half way to the second waterfall, we started feeling drips coming from the sky. "Ok, let's turn around." My brother happily suggested, but being somewhat
stubborn determined, I told them we were so close so we should just venture on, plus, it was only a few rain drops.
Except those few raindrops didn't stop. My brother mumbled and complained of his misery with every step while we slid in the mud and tried to get to Buttermilk Falls without falling in the mud. By the time we reached the tricky part that I told my brother about, the rain was falling hard. "We just have to go up this hill and then we are at the top of the waterfall! I promise!" I yelled as I was climbing between roots to get up the hill. "It's a little slippery but not that bad, just take your time and be careful." I shouted as if I were the official hiking tour guide.
We reached the top in a complete downpour.
"Ok, now lets go see it!" I said optimistically, inching my way down the slippery hill. "Who is with me?"
My brother was adamant about NOT going to see the waterfall and insisted we turn around and head back to the car. That seemed silly to me because we were already soaked and less than five minutes of hiking to see the waterfall in all of its glory. My mom considered going down the hill to see the waterfall, but my brother whispered in her ear that someone would have to point out to the rescue squad where I was when I got stuck at the bottom of the hill. So, she opted to stay up top while I slowly slid down then hill. "It's not as bad as it looks, I promise, you just have to go slow."
I made it, all in one piece, no rescue squad needed. I pulled out my camera and started snapping pictures, and the rain started coming down even harder. I was having a blast, yelling at them to come down and see it, while they were yelling at me to get back up the hill now... before a mudslide came and swept me away.
If you look close enough, you can see how hard it was raining....
It was so worth it to go down the hill.
I tried to ignore their shouts for as long as I could but couldn't ignore their shouts of panic any longer, so I pouted for a quick second, then threw my camera in my backpack and literally ran up the hill I had just slowly come down.
We started the venture back to the car, drenched, some of us were in great moods, feeling like true hardcore adventurers.....
And, naturally, it stopped raining. However, we still had plenty of mud and streams to make it through. When we got back to Blue Hen Falls, I suggested we go down and take some pictures, but it was quickly vetoed. However, some other hikers volunteered to take a picture for us, and it is probably my favorite picture ever....
Even though we'd made it to the car, the rain had stopped, and the sun was out, my brother was still not very happy. On our drive home, I laughed out loud, and then told them what just went through my head, "Now everything makes sense. I just started thinking of that picture of us when we were little and had our mud fight. I was the dirtiest one in the picture, and B hardly had any mud on him at all. I'm so much more of a live-it-up-in-the-moment-I-don't-care-if-I-get-dirty person and B is still reserved. It just makes sense."
And we all laughed in agreement to my statement.
Now I can say I've seen waterfalls on a perfect day in autumn, in the winter, and in the pouring rain. I know I'll hike there again, because another adventure awaits!