North Harper Creek Falls 4/12/14 -A Beautiful Hike With A Sad Ending

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After a short rest and some water following my first hike to Hunt-Fish Falls, I proceeded a mile or so along FR 464 to the trailhead for trail 239 North Harper Creek Falls. This is a rather large parking area and is home to not only the 239 trailhead, but also the 271 trailhead for the climb to the Little Lost Cove Cliffs. This part comes into play later….

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Trail 239 is just over 1 mile long and just may be the flattest, most gentle hiking trail in the entire Wilson Creek Wilderness. There are a few gentle climbs, but mostly a flat walk through a wide open forest. At the end of the trail, it links up with trail 266 which is the North Harper Creek Trail. This trail is not gentle and flat and thankfully must only be followed a short distance. The trail descends steeply for 0.1 miles and comes to North Harper Creek Falls. The creek must be crossed just upstream which can be tricky but done dry. After this, you will walk through a large, primitive campsite. There were at least 10 people camping out today here having a blast. After the campsite, there it is, North Harper Creek Falls.

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North Harper Creek Falls is a beautiful 40 Foot drop over an interesting rock cliff. Above this is a much longer cascade that can not be seen from below. After a short visit here I began to make my way back. Here are a few trail shots heading back.

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As I neared the trailhead, I noticed a lot of vehicles, and noise. This did not fit in. I got closer to see what was going on. Apparently a young 21 year old student fell 70 feet off the Little Lost Cove Cliffs while rappelling. When I saw them carrying the body on a stretcher, I feared the worst. I later learned that he had suffered some serious injuries but was going to make it. This is a grim reminder that these forests can be extremely dangerous. Here is a link to one of the local news channels reporting the fall…. http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/asu-student-charlotte-falls-while-repelling-mounta/nfYg6/

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