When it comes to water in the West, it’s a matter of Feast or Famine.
One of my goals when I thought up this project (and foolishly thought I’d be able to finish it in a year), was that I wanted to document how each of the falls changed their appearance and overall nature as the amount of water flowing over them changed season to season. I expected thundering displays of power during the spring thaw, anemically trickling during the dog-days of summer, and silent majesty of snow and ice during the winter. Of course, this variability applies even more when it comes to year to year variation, and now that I’m thinking of this project on the scale of many years, that’s going to be even more apparent.
Last fall when I first hiked up to Lyric Falls, it was autumn and the first snows were falling. The previous winter had left near record amounts of snowpack and hopes were high for this winter as well. The snows were disappointing last winter, and a very dry spring and summer has left snow pack levels around 1-2% of normal. June was the second hottest and driest on record.
Just when I thought this would start to affect the falls, reducing the cascades and drops to disappointing drips hardly worth the effort of the hike, the famine turned to feast. July’s weather patterns switched, and all the dry hot weather was daily replaced with torrential downpours that triggered daily flash flood watches. From nearly the driest month on record, we had the third wettest. It’s feast or famine in the mountains, and the falls show it all.