Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Copper Falls Trail

Monday, August 8th - - For some reason, I was quite ambitious today and went on a second hike. This was a 1.7 mile loop through the forest, along the river, with a few stair-steps involved as well as some other downhill/uphill sections where there were some handrails to help provide support. I'm not ashamed to admit that I made ample use of the handrails!

The trail would also cross two rivers in three places on very sturdy foot bridges and we'd see several waterfalls along the way. The pictures I took really do not do it justice. To fully appreciate the area you have to be there – feel the spray from the water and hear the roar of the river as it drops over the ledges and through the narrow passageways that it has carved out over many years. This was one hike that was definitely worth the effort!

A small portion of Copper Falls, which drops about 12 feet, on the Mad River. Like the Tahquamenon Falls, the copper color comes from tannin in the water.

A slightly better angle, but still showing only a small part of the falls.

This view shows it a little better – how the river has carved two paths around and through the stone walls of the canyon - but I think the only way you could get a really good shot of this falls would be by being suspended over the river in front of the falls, with a wide angle lens on the camera!

Flowing in a northeasterly direction, the Mad River essentially “runs into” a stone wall, making an abrupt left turn to the west. Coming in from the east is Tyler Forks. Visualize a rather crooked “T” with Mad River being the long upright part as well as the left hand part. Tyler Forks would be the right hand side of the “T” with a bit of a zig and zag just before and after it meets up with the Mad River.

Brownstone Falls is created when Tyler Forks plunges down 30 feet to join the Mad River. The name Brownstone comes from the color of the rocks surrounding it. They were formed eons ago from lava flows that contained small quantities of iron. Tyler Forks curves off to the right, eastward, above Brownstone Falls.

This picture provides no perspective whatsoever! But, there is the Mad River coming in at the top of the picture. The “whitewater” at the bottom of the image is actually Brownstone Falls dropping over the edge of a 30 foot cliff, plunging down and meeting up with the Mad River. Together they continue their journey as Mad River, veering off to the right (where the white foam is in the center of the photo). The sound was incredible. Not nearly as loud as Niagara Falls by any means or even Upper Tahquamenon Falls, but the sound reverberated around the canyon.

Okay, maybe this is a little better. But it still appears as though the water is flowing in from the right and the bottom and going out the top. You'll have to trust me, it isn't.

Adding to the sound of falling water was Tyler Cascades, which is a set of four smaller waterfalls just above and to the east of Brownstone Falls. Simply Gorgeous!

The trail followed Tyler Forks to the east a little ways then crossed at a point just above the cascades. By then the roar of Brownstone Falls was muted and the sound of the water tumbling over the rocks was quite soothing.

Oh, yes! This was one hike that was definitely worth the effort! And I savored every minute of it...


Barbara Poole said...

Perfect water falls, bet you're glad you took that hike.

Carol said...

Gorgeous, Have to add this to my bucket list.