Friday, February 12, 2010

Eddy Out: Veil Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

Veil Falls, mile 81, is an impressive spring-fed waterfall that drops into a giant cathedral of mint and granite. From the river it may not look like much. But once you've scrambled over boulders and gone up the canyon wall nearly 200 feet you'll see why it is worth the stop.

There are three parts to the Veil Falls adventure: First is getting up to the falls, second is relaxing and enjoying the waterfall, and third is making is back down to the boats. Slow and steady always wins the race, especially at Veil. There's a well-worn path that leads to the cathedral but gravity is working against you on your way up. Veil Falls is not a drive-by, though, so you can spend as much time as you would like admiring the falls.

When the wind changes directions the drops of water turn, spiraling there way to the floor. You may be caught soaking in the afternoon sun rays one moment, only to be soaking in the waters from above the next. The ground is coated in mint leaves. Roll some up and put them in your nose. It sounds weird, right? Next, find a flat rock to lie down on and look up. Try to watch an individual drop of water fall from the very lip at the top all the way to the bottom. (photo above/right: Veil Falls twisting and turning on a windy afternoon. Photo by Tysun McMullan)

On the walls of the cathedral are pictographs, which further adds to the magic of this place. Often times we arrive and a herd of Big Horn Sheep are grazing at the base of the falls. Veil Falls is a must-make stop on the Middle Fork. You'll be glad to have made the trek to this beautiful place.

Random interesting fact about Veil Falls:

Very close to this location Barry Goldwater and Andy Anderson found a stick with "Bob McCollom L.H. Atkins 1889" carved into it.

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