Insanity is when your body and brain combine to dissuade you from pursing a deadly course of action, but your mind, on considering the arguments put forth, shrugs and simply says, “meh” and thinks I’ll go ahead and do it anyway.” -Brad

Second Falls: A Story of Adventure in Four Parts: The Insane Part

Standing on a rock inside the cave behind Second Falls when the water is high leaves just one way out. (Well, actually there are two ways out, but only one that will allow you to keep your dignity.) Normally, while standing on this rock with the water falling on your left, you can look down on the fairly calm surface ten feet below or watch people on the opposite slope attempt their entrance style into the brook. That is normally. Today is not normal. The water is falling both on your left and on your right, plus directly in front of you. The surface below is a raging torrent of roiling, dirty white. As for people, you can not even see the other side, let alone a human being there. You stand, staring into the flowing white curtain of water and know that the only way to get out of this cave with any self-respect requires you going through that liquid wall. Sure, you could spend another half hour crawling back the way you came and be branded as chicken. Would you respect yourself the next morning?

You wait there shivering. The thunderous roar of cascading water is hardly registered by your brain which is busy listing all the things you are going to miss in life if this jump doesn’t work. You start to leap, three times, only to hold back at the last instant. Finally, you say to yourself, “It’s do or die!” Though  most likely it will be ‘do and die’. It’s a no win situation. Surrendering to insanity, you jump.

Reality is abandoned behind as you plunge into the midst of the falls which swallows you whole. Everywhere is white, white, white. For a fraction of time you are hanging there free from gravity. Then two giant hands slap down on each shoulder forcing you downward. Your plan was to jump through the falls escaping into the air beyond. Instead, you are sucked down the gullet of this beast. You feel yourself being plunged into the water below as white turns to yellow, to brown, and then to blackness of pitch. Your body is pulled in five different directions at once. You are flipped upside-down, right-side up and possibly inside-out. You loose all sense of direction and no longer can determine which way is up. The presure increases and your ears pain. Fear replaces insanity as you hang in the inky blackness wondering if you have seen sunshine for the final time. Out of the corner of your eye, you catch sight of a murky brown patch  just a shade lighter then the blackness around it. You kick yourself towards it and it becomes clearer. It’s a white foaming cloud, mushrooming upside-down.  It is the underside of the waterfall and you are dragged into and tossed upward, screeching in your head that you want to live!

Lungs screaming for air you are tossed to the surface and gasp. The current pushes you across the brook to the safety of the opposite shore. Pulling yourself up on the slope you turn and face the falls and burst out, “That was fun!” Thirty minutes later you are back up there again, knocking on Death’s door. It doesn’t matter how many jumps you make, when your standing on that rock, with water stinging your back and shoulders, smelling the back side of that curtain of  white, you always seem to forget how much fun it had been before, but, you can’t turn back now.

The cave is only ten feet high, and that is frightful enough, but if you are determinedly insane you can climb to the top of the cliff and step into gravity’s embrace at the forty-foot height. If you are suicidal there is the runway at 50 feet. Not only do you need the steely determination and complete lack of self preservation to jump from that height but you must have gathered enough speed from your running start to gain the needed momenteum to hurl your body clear of the  fifteen feet of life-ending rock that hungers for your blood between your take-off  point and the edge of the water fifty feet below.

So if you like your adventure pretty, If you like you excitement hard, if you want your thrills easy, or if you just want to surrender to insanity, then the place for you next summer is Second Falls. Otherwise, I am sure the water in your bathtub is warm enough to suit you.


Jumping from All Over

Off the runway!

Going over Second Falls in a Kayak! SERIOUSLY!

Swimming Impossible (Once in a Lifetime High Water at 2nd)



7 thoughts on “Thought 123: The Insane Part

  1. The “off the runway” picture is the scariest. I’m content to live vicariously through your vivid accounts. In all my years of swimming up there, I have never jumped from any of those crazy spots. My insanity manifests itself in other ways 🙂 Thanks for the story !!

    • I jumped off the top a couple of times on one crazy day in 1982. As for the runway, that’s the kind of insanity I am quite content to experience through others, I find it hard enough just standing on the runway, let alone thinking of jumping from there.

    • I am proud of you Angel, well done, You deserve it… Now I don’t have to worry about you sneaking in and trying to run off with my trophy.

  2. Love it! Your description as a jumper fits in with my account as a watcher. I am so excited to see that you share with me the wonderful memory of Leech Brook.
    And you write so vividly.

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