Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pam's Grotto

Leaving Longpool, there was a light rain falling. It was thundering off in the distance, and I wondered if I should continue on considering the weather. I decided to head off anyways to a nearby waterfall, not realizing that there were some nasty storms not that far off. Turns out that there might have been a tornado in the same area that I was, but I managed to get through the day just with some light rain. I only had to use an umbrella once, and that was probably more from water dropping down off of the trees.

The next waterfall that I hit was Pam's Grotto Falls. These falls are in the Ozark National Forest in Johnson County, northeast of Clarksville. I drove up and parked at the small parking area, which is next to Haw Creek. The parking area provides some nice access to the creek, where I got these shots:
Haw Creek

Haw Creek

The trail to Pam's Grotto starts off across the road from the parking area. I walked along and got this shot of a small waterfall on the creek that flows through Pam's Grotto.
Waterfall by Pam's Grotto

The hike to the waterfall is short (1 mile), but steep. Having hiked there last year, I was prepared for the steep climb, which reminds you just how out of shape you are. The trail was built for rock climbers, who like to scale some bluffs here. The trail heads up to the bluffs, and after switchbaking up the hill it levels out and follows along the bluffline. After you finally make it to the bluffs, the hike is nice and level. You then follow along a fairly level trail that allows you to admire the tall bluffs. But then it shoots downhill in a muddy and steep descent to the falls. I made my way down there, mostly by scooting down butt-first. This probably wasn't the most exciting way to get there, but it worked. Then I made my way around to the falls, but got startled by a large snake sitting out on some rocks in the middle of the path to the falls.

The snake probably wasn't poisonous, but I didn't want to take any chances. Luckily it must have smelled me there (and having been hiking all day, I probably didn't smell like flowers). It then slithered off and went into the rocks. I kept my distance and avoided that area, just in case.

Pam's Grotto Falls were just a few feet away. They aren't that tall, just 37 feet, but are a very pretty waterfall all the same. The falls are flanked by huge boulders, which give the area a nice personality.
Pam's Grotto Falls

Pam's Grotto

A side view of the falls:
Pam's side

And a view from the front of the falls:
Pam's Grotto

And a view of the small waterfall formed by the creek, which was a hard shot to get. To reach this position meant scrambling across some slick rocks and setting up the camera and tripod in the narrow channel created by the creek. But I liked the moss and the green seeds (I think) from the oak trees that had fallen there.
Pam's Labyrinth

And another shot of the falls:
Pam's Grotto

Pam's Grotto

And another shot, along with the large boulder that guards the falls.
Pam's Grotto

It was starting to get late, so I decided to head back. The trail is much nicer heading downhill, and I was soon back at my car. I had just enough light left in the day to hit one more waterfall, which luckily was just up the road....


Jonw said...

This is a really great series--some of your best falls yet in my humble yet ever present opinion. Nicely done!

Pam's grotto sounds dirty...

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks Jon. And you know, I didn't even think of it sounding dirty. It's probably a good thing I didn't say anything like "I sure was sweaty and a little sore after the trip down to Pam's Grotto."