A Big Surprise at Yahoo Falls

The morning clouds left me annoyed, thinking that it would turn out to be another dark cold day like the previous one.

But by 11am, breaks of sun popped through and my mood immediately lightened.
Yay! I'm going out to visit one of my favorite locations to photograph nature; Yahoo Falls.

It turned out to be a beautiful Sunday afternoon . The temperatures had risen to the low sixties; all the way up from a morning low of 49 degrees!

I have been to Yahoo Falls at least 4 times in almost every season. It is located in the upper part of the Big South Fork National  River and Recreation area that extends into Alardt, TN.  Daniel Boone Forest and Big South Fork are connected and it's hard to tell where one area stops and another begins except for the signs.

Yahoo Falls is easy to find. If you drive north from Tennessee, on highway 27, you will turn left onto highway 700, in Whitley City, KY.
If traveling south on highway 27, just turn right on highway 700.
Follow this narrow, winding road, slowly and you will reach the signs about a few miles due west.

I bought along a friend who had never seen this before so it was a treat.
There is an overlook near the parking lot and the water is always green. The fall colors are just changing and I didn't want to miss them. There are about three overlooks along the way to the falls.
I discovered that the falls does not enter or come from the river at all. it comes from a small creek on top of a ridge, and hikers can cross over and stand over the falls.

There are several ways to get down to the falls, so we picked the red, metal, steep, stairs. This is fine going down but not going up!

The recent rains made a decent amount of water for the fall to be photographed. There were other visitors around so maneuvering to get a good shot proved a challenge this day.

Due to the shade I had to raise the cameras ISO to 1600 and 3200 so there was some graininess, when magnified.

Photographers love to get clear crisp shots but nature doesn't always provide the best lighting.

The Yahoo Arch was next on the agenda so off we went.
The trail seemed a little longer than a year ago. It ascended steep hills and turned many times. I was a little breathless at some points and had to rest. I guess I am getting old or need more practice.

At last we found the arch. Actually it seems to be a rock house an arch and a cave with a hole on top. It never disappoints, at any case.

After snapping photos for 30 minutes, we decided to go back. There is another arch named marker arch further up the ridge about a 1.6 miles but it was getting late.

We walked back through the heavy woods and we stayed on the upper path this time. It was shorter.
As we came to the top of the falls, my friend decided to venture on top; I wasn't as brave.

I have wondered through the woods of Daniel Boone National Forest and the Great South Fork National Recreational and River Area for a few years now and never encountered any wildlife larger than a squirrel or rabbit. Black bear alerts were posted on most trails so I kept an eye out for them.

Then as we left the park road and drove down the road a little when something caught my eye. A very dark image appeared next to the road. I drove slowly up to this and saw the eyes and realized it was a black bear! My first encounter after all the trips and hikes. I was so amazed, scared and delighted at the same time!

My friend had the vantage point and managed to get a few shots before I could get my camera out of its bag. The young bear quickly walked away as he realized we were not there to feed him.

So here's my first bear sighting. I am so glad we didn't meet up with this on foot!