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Three years ago, when Addam and I first visited this fall, we were both astounded by the uniqueness of the falls and the lushness of the moss. Thick, green moss carpeted every inch of the area right around the creek. We explored the creek upstream, admired the falls from the overlook deck, and then made our way down over the cliffs to the bottom of the falls. It was difficult to get down, since I'm short and there's quite the little cliff to navigate. But I did it with Addam's help and encouragement. This became a very special place to us, since we saw it for the first time together, and since I conquered a few fears here with the descent over the cliff. And we had this awesome place all to ourselves that day.

The second time, we ran into a couple of other guys down at the falls below the main drop. Still mossy, still gorgeous. 

On our third visit a few weeks ago, we were floored by how much the place had changed. The first thing we noticed immediately was that there were lots of people there already at the base of the falls. I was shocked, honestly, because it's not easy to get down there at all, at least not for me. On our way down, I realized that it likely hadn't been easy for everyone else who makes there way down there, either. There was now rope anchored to a rock at the top of the cliff. Despite the rope, this was, by far, my most difficult trip down to the falls. Due to the number of people who must have been slip-sliding down the rock wall since this place gained popularity, there was so much erosion of the earth around the rocks that my previous footholds had been destroyed. I just had to let myself drop this time, as my legs weren't long enough to reach the ground I was trying to land on. I don't remember having that problem before. 

Then, there was the moss. Or, should I say, there wasn't. Much of the moss that had once carpeted the hillside was gone. Just gone. Mud is all that remained, with telltale footprints of people slipping down the hill. My stomach sank when I saw how much people have destroyed the hillside at this beautiful place. 

I would never discourage anyone from visiting this amazing place, as photos really don't do it justice. But please, as you head out to these places this weekend and in the future, just watch your step. Truly try to leave no trace. I know it's just some moss and dirt, but it's part of the experience of being there, and I'm sad that people who go there now don't get to see that part. We need to stop being so focused and obsessed with what we're looking at through our lenses and remember that these are real, live landscapes that we are visiting.

Out of respect for the land, we have decided that this will be our last visit here for a long, long time. Hopefully, if people will just be mindful of what their feet are doing, this and other trampled places may begin to recover from the effects of their popularity.

Please, show some respect.
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Comments (48)
dinapopo's avatar
beautiful shot
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AlejandroCastillo's avatar
Beautiful LE shot! Great composition.  =)
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
Thank you. :)
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BlueShiranui's avatar
BlueShiranui|Hobbyist Writer
Wowo... breath taking
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slowdog294's avatar
slowdog294|Professional Photographer
Joyously beautiful. :winnner:
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NWunseen's avatar
NWunseen|Professional Photographer
:faint: such a jaw dropping take from here, sweetie..unique perspective..awesome greens..your beautiful touch in processing..sublime. and a perfect picture to get out such a strong and important message..is sad to see these places get misused and disrespected, you couldnt have said it better. is a little sad knowing that i wont see this place for quite some time if ever again, but if that is what its takes to spread awareness and do my part in protecting the beauty of the NW, really is a small price to pay to save a life. #respectnotrace 

<3
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
thanks so very much for all the great words, sweetie. more importantly, thanks for being so respectful of the beautiful places we visit..they will all benefit from you sharing your knowledge and reverence for the land. :heart:
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NWunseen's avatar
NWunseen|Professional Photographer
very welcome, sweetie! :hug: so glad that we can share the beauty we see together and have the same values for respecting nature while doing so :heart:
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
:heart: :nod: 
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Corvidae65's avatar
:no:  One day there may be barricades to keep people back.  It's happened here in the Black Hills at Roughlock Falls.  The new 'viewing areas' provide a view, sure but nothing inspiring.  Spearfish Falls is more approachable from a photographers standpoint but where others see a photographer they must tread also.
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
You're probably very correct there, John. :(
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
Thanks!
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Argolith's avatar
Argolith|Hobbyist Photographer
Simply amazing.
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
Thank you. :)
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danUK86's avatar
danUK86| General Artist
Beautiful shot and wise words :)
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
Thanks Dan...hopefully people will listen! :)
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danUK86's avatar
danUK86| General Artist
no problem :) and yeah hopefully!
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o0oLUXo0o's avatar
Stunning Image and Sad Story! Its sad how getting the Shot to some people is more important than leaving the location beautiful for the rest of the world to see. I'm so glad I got to see some of those places in Oregon.. I may never go back but I got shots and I feel Like we left it just the way we found it. Thanks for coming and showing me around! 
Hope to Shoot again Soon! 
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
You'd be shocked at the difference in the place since you visited. :(
Appreciate the kind words, Brian...and I feel like we did a pretty good job leaving things as they were too! So glad we had some of those adventures with you guys. So much fun! :) 
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LASKANWLF's avatar
LASKANWLF|Professional Photographer
Love this LeeAnne!! :love: Great shot my friend!
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LAlight's avatar
LAlight|Professional Photographer
Thanks Michael! :)
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LASKANWLF's avatar
LASKANWLF|Professional Photographer
My pleasure LeeAnne! :)
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