Last Saturday Visiting Wanderer stopped by Baker's Wetlands and a few other places in Lawrence, KS followed by a stop at the Veterans Memorial Park in Tonganoxie, KS
The ground was still saturated from the storms that had plagued the area the day before. It did not take long before my boots and pant legs from the knees down were wet and my legs getting cold. The early morning air was barely above the freezing point as we made our way across the lake dam and down the short trail that leads to the three level waterfall. I decided to head further down the trail to start with the bottom falls and then work my way up. I went as far as the underbrush would let me go and set up my tripod and camera and using a neutral density filter set about photographing the second largest of the falls in the morning sunlight as it crept through the trees. The steam rose from the shallow pool making it look like a ghost in the photos. The water felt like ice as it seeped into my boot as I stepped further into the pool to get a better angle. It took several minutes to find an angle that was not corrupted by the flares from the sun or the “ghost” that the steam implanted on my photo.
The middle level water fall, perhaps the most photographed, was crashing down through the rocks. The roar was substantially louder than the previous falls as the water fell from about fifteen feet as it washed over the protruding rocks and crashed to the ones below. I was not satisfied with the shots I was getting from the distance I was, so I carefully navigated across the slippery clay surface that bordered the pool below the waterfall. After a few missteps and nearly falling into the pool, I managed to reach the bottom of the fall and it was an excellent place to be. Despite being only a couple of feet from where the water was splashing down, I only had one drop get on my lens. For awhile, there were none of life’s burdens on my shoulders while exploring the waterfalls. That place is really peaceful first thing in the morning.
Every spring we try to visit Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in search of any kind of wildlife we can find, which is usually an abundance of snakes and turtles. There is always time to hike to the top of the loess bluffs, there is a short trail and a longer trail that takes you along the top of the hills. There is plenty to see and explore if you are interested in the outdoors. Due to two previous articles I will just share photos from this visit. Enjoy!
© 2012 Nathan Hershley - www.visitingwanderer.com