Chasing Waterfalls

I spent a few days this week visiting my family and Friend #1 in Buffalo. I had a great time – it was jam-packed with activity, which was the idea, but man was it exhausting!

One afternoon, my brother Stephen and I went hiking at a place not too far away called Zoar Valley. He has been trying to get me to go there for years. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, because I definitely did. It’s just that my trips to Buffalo are always so short, usually centered around some sort of event, so time is incredibly limited and we were never able to coordinate it. This was the perfect trip for it, though.

Zoar Valley is literally a valley with high cliffs (and in many places, waterfalls) on either side. In the center is a creek, which can become more river-like with rain. There had been some rain in the days before our hike, so – according to my brother – there was more water than usual, but it wasn’t at the ‘too dangerous to continue’ level. So it was full-steam ahead!

Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect. Steve told me to wear sneakers that I didn’t mind getting wet, because that was definitely going to happen. But he didn’t tell me that the rest of me was going to be completely saturated as well. If I had known that, I would have worn a bathing suit under my clothes, but hey: You’ve gotta roll with the punches when you’re with Steve, so whatever.

There were a few very difficult places to pass. At one point, in water up to our necks, we had to get around an outcropping of the cliff. Steve had no difficulty with this whatsoever. When it was my turn, though, it was a completely different story. The first time I attempted it, I thought I’d be able to walk, but the water was deeper than I expected. Then I tried a second time, doing this weird doggy paddle thing, which wasn’t enough to counteract the current of the water. And of course, I was laughing really hard (mostly at my foolishness and the fact that my brother was recording my foolishness…) which didn’t help. Third time was a charm though, and I made it across!

Zoar Valley is home to a number of waterfalls, and once I got past that outcropping of rock, there was a natural ‘shower’ that was fun to stand it. I was already wet, so what the heck, right?

There were a few more places that were pretty difficult to maneuver. Walking along a cliff with only a few inches of rock sticking out to step on – thinking back on it, it was pretty scary, actually. One wrong step and you’d be tumbling into the water below! We saved that for later though…

That’s right: I jumped off a cliff, down a waterfall, into the rushing water below.

Holy shit.

I had no idea that’s what we were doing until we were halfway to the waterfall at the end of the 2-mile hike. Steve nonchalantly tells me this like it was common knowledge. It was not.

After passing multiple waterfalls, we finally make it to the one we were going to jump off. When I saw it I immediately thought “No way in hell.” Steve quickly set down his bag away from the falls, and had me follow him over, which I did, like a lamb. He showed me how to cross the raging waters at the top, which again I did.

Let me tell you, once we were on top of the waterfall, I seriously doubted doing this. I don’t have a fear of heights or water, but standing up there and looking down – oh boy. Let’s just say it was high – about 25 or 30 feet I’d guess. And the water was fast. And it was a cliff, for pete’s sake.

Steve explained how to jump in – away from the edge (duh), plugging your nose with one hand and with your body straight like a pencil. He asked if I wanted him to go first, and obviously I did, so then he jumped in.

Just like that.

He was fine, of course. I yelled to him that I had no intention of jumping in twice, which he wanted me to do so he could take a picture of me as I jumped (he left his camera in that bag away from the falls), so he ran to get his camera. When he came back, I was standing at the top of the 25-30ft waterfall, shaking the nerves out of my hands, trying to talk myself into jumping.

And then I did.

I jumped out from the wall, plugged my nose, made myself as straight as possible and kissed my hat goodbye. There was an unexpected hang time before my feet hit the water – very odd sensation. It was actually a rather smooth entrance… I’d give it a 7.5. My hat even ended up directly beneath me so I was able to snag that. Score!

These are our victory shots in front of the waterfall. There was a huge rock in the water in front of it that I’m standing on in the second one and Steve’s sitting on it in the third, so it’s a little misleading. We should have gotten a shot of one of us standing on top of it, but it was complicated since it was a phone and not a waterproof camera :) There’s a video of me jumping off somewhere too. If I ever get my hands on it I’ll share it with you all.

I’m so glad I went for it! It was really cool. I can’t believe I almost missed out on that experience for no good reason. Well, slight risk of death or dismemberment, but other than that, no good reason.

5 Responses to “Chasing Waterfalls”

  1. Kimberly Says:

    Testing!

  2. South Beach Steve Says:

    This looks like a great time!

  3. Jbbettcer Says:

    YOU KIDS SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL…..SAYS YOUR MOTHER…..can I go next time????

  4. Motivationed Says:

    Not sure why your Motivation Post from June 8th has comments closed off already but i thought I would ask if you have considered the 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups or 200 squats Programs that I see many in the community doing. I just started the 100 Push-ups and still plan to do some biking and weights. All the best !

  5. redstar5 Says:

    I'm seriously envious of your adventures in the great outdoors! It always looks like a challenge, but a lot of fun. You're inspiring me to get out there and find an outdoor hiking adventure of my own here in Nova Scotia!