Of all the substances on Earth, water is the most awe-inspiring.
Consider a lake on a misty morning, its surface smooth and still. You dive in, and the water parts, sliding supplely around your skin, its touch as light as silk. It’s evanescent, nearly intangible. Try to hold it in your hand; it slips away.
Consider a single water drop falling on a stone. Perhaps it rolls off onto the ground; perhaps it remains until the sun melts it away. Yet if water drips relentlessly in the same place for centuries, one single soft drop at a time, the stone will wear away. It doesn’t stand a chance.
Now consider trillions of water drops joined together in a raging river. As it cascades down a steeply inclined bed, the force of the water will eat its way through solid rock. Nothing soft and silky here.
Blackwater Canyon in West Virginia has been sculpted by the Blackwater River for centuries. The sandstone towers and ledges of Blackwater Falls demonstrate the force moving water can have. Nothing quite prepared me for witnessing that power in person, though.
Here is the photo I took of the Falls with its three distinct cascades Monday morning.
And then, it rained. Overnight the area got quite a soaking. Tuesday morning, Blackwater Falls looked like this:
Wow. Just, WOW. So much water was pouring over the falls that the sandstone ledges weren’t even visible.
Upon hitting the bottom of the falls, water exploded back upwards to blanket the valley in mist. Everything nearby was soaked not from rain, but the river.
We walked down the steps and the boardwalk, very carefully, to get up close to the falls.
Robb and Don, steeped in Nature’s Majesty. The roar of all that water made it impossible to hear anything quieter than a full-throated shout.
At Pendleton Point, a panoramic view of Blackwater Canyon. The Blackwater River flows from left to right. In the center, Elakala Falls.
Elakala Falls consists four separate waterfalls along Shays Run, until it finally spills into the Blackwater River.
The Blackwater River. Kayaking, anyone?
The view from the bridge leading to the lodge. See that flat-topped rock on the right? On a previous visit to Blackwater Falls, Don was particularly impressed with that rock. Ah, fond memories!
Back at the falls, this time from the far side of the canyon.
From there, I made a short, shaky video of Blackwater Falls. (Click the link to see the video. That’s Robb’s voice in the background.) This was taken a lot further away from the falls than my previous video, which makes the roar of the falls all the more impressive.
All that power, all that force, in a material that feels so silken, so insubstantial. It slices through stone like a scythe – yet rests lightly in dewy drops on the gossamer petal of a flower.
Water. It’s amazing!