Third Failure at Vista Falls

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Determined to find Vista Falls, even after two failed attempts already, Jacob swings by for a quick stop before a long drive down to Appleton. published on by

Thick growth on the trail

After a humiliating failure at Vista Falls yesterday I spent the morning doing some research. I had chosen the easiest route and had cut off the road at about the right point. My mistake was heading upstream. I had probably been a few hundred yards from the possible waterfall (at most), a few hundred yards from finding the elusive location and checking a big item off of the Sturgeon River watershed list. Today I was planning on working a half-day at work and heading down to Appleton to hang out with Katie and her family, a drive that would take me right past (sort of) Vista Falls. There was no way I was going to pass up that opportunity, even if it would delay my drive a good hour or two.

I parked at the end of the two-track and walked in. The track was in good enough shape for me to drive, and I knew it, but there was no spot to turn around or even park on the side before the beaver dam ahead. An extra mile of walking wasn't much.

The start of the two-track

The start of the two-track

The track and beaver dam was old news this time around. I booked it down the trail, half-trotting to keep ahead of the black flies. Logan bounded next to me, a bit confused on why we were back here less than twenty-four hours later. A good thirty minutes or so had passed before I pulled us to a stop and looked around. This was confusing. There was a swamp on the right side of the trail. I thought the swamp was supposed to be on the left side.

Swamp intruding on the north side of the track

Swamp intruding on the north side of the track

I checked my map. Oh, I was that far already. There was a hefty stretch of swamp on my right, one that drained into the West Branch Sturgeon River (swamps) ahead of me. I continued on for a few more dozen yards, passing by some mucky water, before cutting over to the left. I was now a solid quarter mile (or so) beyond my last approach. I pushed through the thick undergrowth, avoiding the sucking ground, and burst out onto… more swamp.

Done. Done done done. The black flies, the hot summer air, and now more swamp. Logan and I pulled back to the trail and booked it back to my car. There was no Vista Falls - there just couldn't be. We headed down to Appleton feeling like two suckers who had been had by an sadistic mapmaker for the third time.

Trip Photos

  • The start of the two-track
  • Thick growth on the trail
  • Swamp intruding on the north side of the track

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