Thick snow and crisp air seemed like the perfect time for Katie and I to try out snowshoes. So far my winter adventures had just been straight up trudges, plowing through feet of snow in simple hiking boots, but Katie had a friend with two pairs and we were itching for a chance to try them out. We headed on a weekday afternoon to Quincy Falls, another spot that I wanted to track down and record exact coordinates for.
There was more than enough shoulder plowed on M-26 for us to park the car safely out of traffic. We strapped on the snowshoes and quickly headed into the woods, stumbling a few times, so we could let Logan off leash and get used to our new footgear. We were awkward at first, the tight trails and steep hills near Quincy Mill not making it easy for us to adjust. I decided to ditch my usual route in along the creek and instead veered left to the ruins, which made for an open field of snow-covered concrete to practice. This was much easier to walk on (and easier for Logan to prance and dash around us) and we made to the ATV trail without too much difficulty.
Quincy Creek's entire gorge was choked with fluffy snow. If I hadn't visited the creek last summer it'd be hard to imagine waterfalls or even a creek underneath all the fluff. We stuck to the top of the north bank, winding along footpaths. I led, breaking a trail for Katie, pausing occasionally to mark a coordinate on my GPS.
As we followed the bank further upstream a few open spots showed off dark ice and water below, though they were small and didn't show much. The small dam was easy to make out, with the rock wall exposed and metal rod sticking a few feet above the snow cover. Besides that I was forced to walk down and back up the gorge multiple times to get closer looks at possible drops.
Walking in the gorge was not an easy trek, the soft fluffy snow letting me sink waist-deep even with the snowshoes. When I finally confirmed the third drop all of us were tired, especially Logan and I. Of course Logan had to follow me down to the edge of the creek. There was one more spot to check. I told Katie to wait while I pushed further ahead alone.
On previous visits I had turned around at the third drop, forced back by the falling night. I held some suspicion that another drop was waiting ahead and wanted to see if anything stood out in the thick snow. Sure enough, a few short twists and I was faced with an odd site. The gorge simply ended at a point ahead. This could mean only one thing: the small creek must pour into this gorge here, making a relatively tall waterfall that was now covered in ice and snow.
Excited I marked my location and headed back to Katie to share my news. She wasn't as thrilled as I was, since every spot I had pointed out as a waterfall was just another mound of white fluff. We turned and followed our path back to the mill and our car.
Before returning to the car we decided to have some fun at the mill. I led us back to the tall two-story building next to the creek and we took off our snowshoes. There was barely any snow in here, a few drifts coming in from the sides, and it felt good to walk normally again. I climbed around a little, scampering up to the second story while Logan barked with jealously below. When we finally decided to leave, tired and wet from the snowy hike, I was did so with a good deal of excitement. Spring would be here soon, and the waterfalls would be flowing, especially that tall new drop I had just found.