Every time I venture out to a waterfall in the Pacific Northwest, I try to soak up the beauty as much as I can. I haven’t always been attracted to water, but in the recent years it has sparked a slight obsession.
The sounds, the varying appearances and the overall cycle of the waterfall provides a sense of wonder. In previous years, I would momentarily pause to observe the waterfall, explore the surrounding structures and enjoy the sounds before continuing on. But more recently, I’ve begun to truly respect the depth of a waterfall’s beauty.
I never quite considered the numbers behind waterfalls until a summer trip to Tamanawas Falls in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I had a friend walk out to the waterfall for perspective. I snapped a few pictures and headed out. Once home, I inspected the pictures and saw how tiny he was in comparison to the falls. This made me wonder—how much water is cascading over the edge?
When we venture into nature, we absorb the sights and sounds but sometimes forget to consider the enormity of the structures in front of us. How long did it take the water to create the picture in front of us?
To get a sense of scale, a waterfall can produce tens of thousands of gallons of water per hour. For example, 750,000 gallons of water cascade over the edge of Niagara Falls per second! It’s equivalent to flushing 250,000 toilets at the same time, every second.
Not all waterfalls can be as majestic as Niagara Falls but many still produce tens of thousands of gallons of water per hour. Beautiful sights can often be taken for granted but I am challenging myself to absorb the intricacies of the beauty that surrounds me.