Katie and I had spent most of the morning shopping for random household needs. The weather was crisp out, flakes of snow drifting down from an overcast sky, though none of the white stuff was sticking around. I felt a little stir crazy after spending so much time jumping from store to store and decided to take Logan for an afternoon hike. Short on time and without a real destination in mind I chose the closest destination I knew of: Ripley Falls.
It wasn't until last month that I had learned that there was much more to this waterfall than the few lower drops Katie and I visited back in the summer. Faith and I explored the full side of Mont Ripley, discovering multiple waterfalls up the hill, though there wasn't enough water running to really get a good view of the waterfalls. With the recent rains and today's wet snow I held out some hope that the small creek would be flowing.
Parking at the old Ripley schoolhouse I headed up the trail with Logan, slipping over the wet leaves and needles along the way. Doubt began to trickle in as we walked, with the creek dry far below us. True enough, the first drop was all but empty, a thin trickle of water flowing under and around the boulders. Above only the occasional cascade poked out of the dark rocks.
We headed up the hill hoping that the other drops would be more promising. A few of the drops over solid bedrock were a bit more defined, including the large drop that is over halfway up the mountain, but there was nothing spectacular to see. While the creek held a bit more water than it had earlier in the month we left Ripley Falls disappointed. Hope that spring melt is more impressive.
On the way back I cut over to the access road just west of the creek, along the ski hill. The view from here was incredible. Falling snow obscured Houghton like a thickening fog with only shadowy outlines seeping through the gray. Winter was coming, and with it a forced adaptation of my hiking style.