Who in their right mind gets out of bed at 4 AM on a Sunday and drives over an hour in the dark to see the sun rise over a waterfall?
Um, yeah, hi. That would be me.
To be fair, I often get up that early to bake (it’s my job), so it isn’t an extreme hardship. And though yes, I usually get to sleep in on Sundays, yesterday’s rain meant the chance of increased water flow over Brandywine Falls, and I wanted to get there early in order to enjoy the view largely to myself.
You might be surprised (shocked? appalled?) to learn that, although I have lived around 80% of my life in northeast Ohio, I have never before visited Brandywine Falls. I know, it has been a gross oversight on my part, but I intend to make up for the lack in future.
From the parking lot, there’s a very short hike along a wooden boardwalk to get to one of two viewing platforms. To reach the lower deck, you take nearly 100 steps down past sandstone ledges to discover a close view of the falls. The upper platform offers a lovely view, too, and has a path leading to a footbridge across the top of the falls. Covering all three vantage points on my hike gave me not only some great photos but also a better understanding and appreciation for the falls’ structure and flow.
Once around the footbridge, I picked up the gorge loop trail that took me into the woods on the far side, and the trail led down, down, down, with teasing glimpses of the rapids and bends in the water below. Before I reached the bottom, I met a fellow hiker coming from the opposite direction (and a different starting point about 1.5 mi away), and he kindly gave me directions for staying on my own loop and not turning onto his. (Well, not today, anyway!)
A footbridge at river level led me back to my original side of the gorge, and I climbed through the peaceful woods, occasionally wishing I’d had my hiking poles, and returned to the parking area. (I also ran into the same encouraging hiker once more, who asked if I were enjoying the trail — and, of course, I was. Hikers are the nicest people!)
So I can check that long-overdue hike off my list — but I can also make plans to return when autumn’s colors make it even more beautiful!