Deep in the heart of Shining Rock Wilderness there lies a very large and very elusive waterfall. It appears on some maps but the remoteness of the area means that few people manage to view it close up and in person. Last summer Joe and I caught a fleeting glimpse of it but were under roped and over watered and could not rappel it. Last winter I managed to see it from afar while searching for a train.
A few weeks back Edmund and I succeeded in reaching this waterfall and rappelling it and then descended the rest of the watercourse. It was hard to reach. We tried to go straight to the top of the waterfall by hiking much further up on the mountain before bushwhacking down to the creek but were stymied by impenetrable thickets of briars and rhododendron and ended up reaching the creek at the lower fall where I have been many times before. From there we worked our way up the creek, stopping for a little Tenkara fishing along the way, in search of the giant, hidden waterfall. Just when we had resigned to give up the search and turn around there it was shining like a beacon.
The rappel itself required every inch of the 200' rope we had brought for the job but wasn't overly challenging. Instead of technical difficulty this trip was all about the splendid beauty of true wilderness. Standing atop the precipice looking out over the lush green expanse of nothing but mountains and it was all worth it. Halfway down the waterfall I paused to soak in the miraculous splendor of it all and took comfort in that we still have such wild places where our souls can be nourished and replenished.