Sicily Island Hills in December

Posted: December 8, 2009 in Homepage

The leaves on most deciduous trees have fallen here, save the persistent foliage of the beech, and this past weekend a very slight touch of snow fell in the Sicily Island Hills. My son Landon and his Franklin Parish buddies Chase and Josh visited the southern  and northern portions of the wildlife management area and took several photographs in both areas.

The photo below shows the pavilion that was completed this year at the entrance to the Rock Falls Nature Trail.

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Rock Falls Trail Entrance Photo by Landon Powers

The pavilion provides a protected place to listen to birds or check your gear before descending the trail below.

Photographs can be hard to interpret sometimes. Consider the next two photographs below. The first photo is from the pavilion looking down the descending trail. From this perspective it looks like relatively easy going.

Descending Rock Falls Trail

If you look very closely you will notice on the left side of the trail a wooden post like many along the trail with a placard identifying woody plants.

The following photograph taken of the same area, but instead looking up the Rock Falls Trail from the bottom of the hill, shows the steepness of the trail. In addition, notice the deep covering of leaves on the ground. On the steepest portions of the trail footing can be very difficult or dangerous. It is always necessary to wear hiking boots or other footwear that provides the best traction available. Regular shoes won’t cut it here. If you are not in good physical condition or not used to exerting yourself,  this may not be a trail you want to take. Even when I was in good condition I still had to hold onto the small trees along the trail to prevent myself from falling. A few times I have fallen. Climbing up the trail to get back to the road, always is strenuous.

Rock Falls Trail just below the pavilion

Before you make the last bend in the trail you will probably hear the waterfall before you see it. But once you get to a certain point you will see the gorge below and the waterfall ahead.

View from the trail

As you continue on the trail you will see the small footbridge above the waterfall. The photograph below shows the footbridge with the stream coming from the right and the waterfall on the left just beyond the edge of the photo.

Footbridge at Rock Falls

Once over the bridge, if you wish to go down below to the base of the waterfall, you will navigate to the left, but be extremely careful walking down into the gorge. The soil and rocks are loose and everything is usually very slippery.

Down in the Gorge at Rock Falls

The unusually heavy rains of fall are over and the consistent rains of winter are approaching, but the volume of water flowing over Rock Falls is variable. The best time to see the falls at high volume is during or just after a downpour. At the same time it can be a most challenging time to view the falls because the steepness of the trail and slippery nature of the gorge are greatly pronounced after or during rainfall. So if you choose to go to the falls during a rainy period, be aware that it is much more dangerous and you should be extra cautious or choose another time to visit.

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