I spent the day before July 4th traveling around the North Fork Nooksack River valley. I was primarily interested in several waterfalls but I also revisited a small creek that I haven’t been to in a while. The weather was perfect for photography (cloudy and dry) and was a mixture of success and setbacks. I had hoped to find a possible vantage point across from Nooksack Falls but that did not pan out on this trip. I also had hoped to photograph Wells Creek Falls from creek level but that also did not happen due to high water and too many water crossings to gain entrance into the falls’ amphitheater. The last setback was getting cliffed out while bushwhacking up Deadhorse Creek to Deadhorse Falls. If the falls are your goal, follow the LEFT (or east) bank upstream. The right side is easier travel initially but becomes a very steep cliff face as the falls come into view.
On to the successes..
I’ve shot a particular creek that flows into the Nooksack immediate above Nooksack Falls a number of times throughout the winter but have rarely visited the stretch of creek located upstream of the Mount Baker Highway. The higher flows right now made conditions more conducive for a visit:
And now…..Wells Creek Falls. It’s somewhat visible from Wells Creek Road and located just 1,000 feet upstream of the road. How hard can it be? Well……….VERY. Photographing the falls from creek level can be done but is best suited for fall when the water levels are lower. On this day, the water was running deep enough to discourage fording since the hike would require several fords across the creek to gain entrance into the waterfall’s amphitheater.
From about the halfway point between the falls and the road, my friend and I looked up and weighed my options. Both sides were steep walled ridges but we decided to go with the right hand side. We huffed it back out to the road and then crashed into the forest. I’ve crashed through some huckleberry dominant understories before but this was unreal. The huckleberry was thick and 6 feet tall. Negotiating this was a huge drain on energy. On the flip side, the floor of the forest was quite prolific with bunchberry in bloom (no photos, though!).
After a lot of scratches and brush crashing, we arrived at the location of the falls. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear vantage point due to the thick forest. Here’s what I was able to capture: