Having given up our quest for Angel Falls after schlepping through the hillside slash for an hour, I ended Part 2 with this tease – Once across, Paul and I walk back to the trailhead parking to see four cars in the lot, not the two when we started. Hmmmmm. Someone has found the Angel Falls Trail. And then we turn and see…
What we see are the promised red blazes on both a large rock and a tree on either side of the logging road directly to our left. Smiling to each other, without a bit of self-flagellation, we just up and head to Angel Falls 0.8 of a mile away.
Crossing the Berdeen Stream again, this time on a bridge wide enough for cars, we have none of the barefooted fording of the white water that we did just an hour ago. Feeling confident that the rock hopping described in the Maine Trail Finder website would be quite manageable, we buoyantly head for the cooling waters of the 90’ Angel Falls. (Click here for detailed information of Angel Falls.)
With the roar of the brook building, we see a torrent among boulders roiling from the deluge of the past weekend. And so it appears my iPhone and I have more watery challenges ahead. In the lead, Paul takes off his boots and socks and chucks them across the wild brook. Knowing from our previous experience that the water is cold, but not bone chilling cold, I follow suit and whip my boots with socks across the deafening brook.
From my previous “barefoot crossing on rocks” experience, I have learned that I am most comfortable crossing on four points (i.e., on all fours). With my legs submerged in the racing water that is stirring around my feet, I step on mini-boulders while using my hands to get low in the brook as I place them on rocks in the tumbling stream. With my iPhone in my pocket, I step into the icy tempest and successfully cross.
The trail itself is within feet of the roaring brook as we climb the gorge into the interior. With my confidence building and having figured out that the four-point technique is “water crossing gold,” I am ready to ford the brook two more times in my frog stance.
On this 74F day under the shade of brook trees, we head closer to the falls. Crossing the brook twice more has me going slowly and steadily across the submerged rounded rocks, some slimy with algae and others surprisingly algae-free. After a successful third crossing, I have the white water heaven of Angel Falls within my grasp. I feel like an Outward Bounder; doing something I didn’t realize I could do.
And then boom! The crashing white water over the 90’ falls to the pool below is as spectacular as any western waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park. There are some who contend that Angel Falls is the highest in Maine, one foot more than the Moxie Falls. (Click here for more information about Moxie Falls.)
Whether they are or not, the falls have me searching for superlatives – stunning, spectacular, dazzling. None of these words is hyperbole.
Knowing my iPhone and I still have three knee deep river crossings before we return to the trailhead, we head down the brook trail a little before noon. There we see a family of six ready to cross. The 13-year-old girl with pole in hand is half way across the boulders. Throwing our shoes to her grandfather who catches them like the high school shortstop that we soon learn he was, we wonder about kids crossing such a torrent.
They have water shoes so they are less vulnerable to slipping than I am in my barefeet. Later a family with a kid looking just a little older than our four-year-old grandson Owen is contemplating crossing the turbulent waters. I can hardly believe it.
We talk of our experience with them, but soon head down the trail before we learn what mom and dad decide to do.
After tromping through the slash of lumbering Maine, then being immersed in the raging book on the way to Angel Falls, we have hit waterfall nirvana.
Part 4 concludes our waterfall adventure at the Dunn Falls…