Today was my first ever visit to Fonferek Glen and its falls in nearby De Pere. WI. I'd only heard of this place in the past few years, presumably because it had been privately held property until relatively recently when the land was donated as a preserve and established as a county park. I'd seen a few photos online since that time and never got the impression from those that the falls were worth the trouble to seek out.
This morning, as I was considering a visit to another waterfall outside the city, I remembered Fonferek and thought it might be fun to visit a place I'd not seen before versus one I had seen many, many times. So, keeping the original waterfall in mind as a fallback location for today's shoot, I googled Fonferek Falls and soon was on my way. Twenty-five minutes later I was pulling the car onto Memory Lane (yes, that's the name of the road it's on!) toward an old farm. The Falls overlook was just a short walk through the snowy, overgrown field behind the barn. One look and I realized that the internet is sorely lacking in quality photos from this place! A still life torrent of ice hung from the edge of the gorge plunging 25 ft to the frozen surface surrounded by the colorful, eroded walls.
The view from the overlook was nice but I wanted to get closer for photos so I followed the path of a previous visitor through the woods down to the edge of the creek. The footprints I had followed that far were not fresh. They led out onto the frozen surface of the water but realizing the tracks could be days old, and considering the warmth of the past day, I could not be certain that the ice would not give way. I took a step onto the ice and tested it with my weight...it seemed ok. I headed up the creek toward the waterfall trying to think light thoughts (feathers, balloons, etc) as I heard rushing water gurgling just below my feet. I broke through the surface in a couple of places where there were hollows pockets but never actually ended up wet.
Once I arrived at the waterfall my perils continued. As I ducked behind the massive wall of ice hanging from the ledge to have a look, I heard cracking sounds from above that were rather disconcerting. If all that ice were to come crashing down at once...yikes!
The daily photo project would likely come to an abrupt halt!
Then, looking directly above my head, I became aware that if the ice didn't get me, the rocks just might. The entire ledge was crumbling in layers. Many pieces big enough to hurt (or worse) if they fell on a my head looked ready to come loose at any time. Judging by the rocks strewn just below the ledge, this happens quite often.
Fortunately, I escaped serious injury and got my shots without incident other than a short struggle with a rather persistent thistle that attached itself to my fleece glove at some point during this adventure.