Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Royal Gorge

Leon Turnbull wrote that he visited the Royal Gorge recently, and he posted some photographs of the waterfalls on his website; the URLs are below; enjoy!

The Royal Gorge is on the North Fork American, away up by Snow Mountain, where an astounding 4000 feet of relief is found between summit and river. Leon's "Petroglyph Falls" are directly below Wabena Point, which in turn is across the river from the East Summit of Snow.

I do not know when or by whom the Royal Gorge was named. Snow Mountain was called Eagle Cliff, for a time, anyway, in the 19th century.

The names of the various waterfalls in the Royal Gorge, where the whole North Fork plunges over cliffs into deep pools, are uncertain. I have heard old-timers call the lowest, farthest-west falls "Wabena Falls"; they are just upstream from the confluence of Wabena Creek. And the uppermost falls, just below the confluence with Palisade Creek, are often called Palisade Falls, but I have some scant evidence suggesting they may have been called Snow Mountain Falls, in 1893.

Gene Markley and his hardy band used to scramble the Royal Gorge, and undoubtedly developed their own set of names, which I would like to know.

At any rate, Leon wrote:
Just thought I'd let you know,
my brother-in-law and I made a great backpacking trip down into the Royal
Gorge in mid June. We hiked from the Troy Rd at Kingvale, and cut across in
front of Devil's Peak to hit the Palisade Creek trail. We had a little bit
of snow to hike through at the top, not too much though. We camped down at
Palisade Falls. On the next day, we scrambled down the gorge as far as
Petroglyph Falls. It was not really difficult, but kinda slow going. On the
way back, we decided to walk right up beside river. Even though the river
was high, it was much easier to do it this way. There was only one
difficult spot where we had to scramble up away from the river.

My photos and write-ups are on my web page:

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