McDowell Falls

February 5, 1978

Sunday, Feb. 5 turned out to be an overcast day, contrary to my promise that I would provide a sunny day for our trip to McDowell Falls. Eight hikers arrived at my place about 9:30 a.m. and in a short time we were headed up the Mohawk Highway toward Sweet Home at a speed of about 40 miles per hour. A short distance after reaching the highway near Crawfordville, I noticed a car riding my back bumper and I pulled over to the edge of the pavement to let him by. Finally when he did pass I saw that it was a State Police car. A short time later he pulled off the edge of the road and parked; I traveled about another mile, and now I saw a blinking blue light in my mirror.

I now pulled off the road and got out of the car to inquire what the trouble was. He now asked me for my driver’s license and wondered why I was driving so slowly. I told him I was leading a trip and after carefully looking in the car he let me go.

We arrived at McDowell Falls Park at about 10:30 a.m., and after a short walk to see a couple of smaller falls, we now crossed the stream and started walking up a nature trail toward Terrace Falls, which we reached in about fifteen minutes of hiking. These falls are over 100 feet in height and come down in three steps, and are very beautiful. After admiring the falls from a bridge across the creek for some time, the rest of the group decided to hike the round trip trail above the falls about a mile in length.

Due to the fact that I had hiked the trail before, I waited on the bridge until the rest of the party returned, after which we went back to the cars and a short time later arrived at the upper falls on McDowell Creek.

By now it was lunch time, and after a short break for lunch, we walked down some stone steps to a view point of the falls which are 70 or 80 feet high. The canyon below the falls is very beautiful with its moss and fern covered walls. Back to the cars again, we headed for Green Peter Dam. A short distance below the dam we saw another State Police car parked by the road. A few minutes later we arrived at the dam and walked part way across the dam, which has a roadway across the river. Then back to the cars to start for home. After driving to where the policeman was parked, we now were faced with a blinking red light. After stopping our cars, the policeman said he was checking fishermen who had been fishing in the reservoir. He now very carefully looked over the passengers and the interior of the cars. While we were passing through Sweet Home we saw more police cars on the highway; in all we saw seven State Police cars in the area. We now realized that we were caught in the police net that was formed to catch Larsen, the murderer.

On the way back home I decided to travel up the west fork of Brush Creek and to drive past Horse Rock, which is at quite a high elevation with a beautiful view. We got within about ½ mile of the parking place, when we found the road blocked by BLM to prevent motorcycles from driving over the Horse Rock area and wrecking the terrain.

Again to the cars, down Shotgun Creek and home again where I showed the group my rock collections, crystals and other items. Those enjoying leader Leo Paschelke’s trip were Emmy Dale, Peter Cecil, Mary Bridgeman, Larry Leke, Karen Haagland, Paula Vehrs, Gladys Grancorvitz, and Helen Smith.

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