Kennedy Falls - 1
aka Gluteus Mash
North Fork Blackwater River
Monongahela National Forest
First off I'm just going to have to say that it takes some balls for someone to kayak over this falls. Titled Gluteus Mash by kayakers the off trail hike to this approximately 35 ft. falls is a bit strenuous and challenging involving a scramble to approach the falls to achieve views from below. The falls is located approximately a 1/2 mile further downstream from the more known Douglas Falls. It's an odd, but also a really cool feeling to find out I am one of a small handful of known photographers (5) to ever photograph this falls. Friend and fellow waterfall photographer Randy Sanger, who guided Jason and I to this falls, had previously visited this falls once before. Randy had discovered this falls thanks to waterfall photographer Ed Rehbein who was told about this hidden jem by some kayakers. This is also the falls that our friend Jason did the splits on the slippery rocks, knocked his hips out of socket and then had to do the scramble up the steep canyon wall with limited leg mobility. He was a trooper.
The interesting color of the rocks in the riverbed was created by an acid wash when the waste water from a abandoned upstream acid mine drained into the river and the resulting corrective measures to treat it discolored them. The event, which happened approximately 10 years ago, killed all the wildlife that resided in the river. Only recently have wildlife returned, but only to drink the water, for now the river is still dead.
This Canyon is endangered, hence the title. Surrounded by the U.S. National Forest up the hill on the left and Blackwater Falls State Park at the top of the mountain on the right, makes the land in between the government property privately owned by a timber baron. For 8 years the timber baron had attempted to get the U.S. government to turn the 120 year old Blackwater Canyon Trail into a logging road so it could be accessed so the surrounding canyon sides would be stripped of it's timber. However, last year the Feds decided to rule in favor of the land, keeping the trail as a trail and keeping the land locked with no way to access it, for now.