Ricketts Glen State Park – Horror Story with Happy Ending

Our trip to Ricketts Glen State Park was, if nothing else, an interesting adventure in photography. I visited the park in October 2016 with two friends, Abu and Roger. The purpose of the trip was to shoot the waterfalls in the park. Of course, if that was all that happened – there would be no need for a story. Three guys hiking and taking pictures isn’t very exciting.

17 Waterfalls

Ricketts Glen State Park is an amazing place – being the home to what I remember 17 waterfalls. Since we live in Maryland, it was nearly a four hour drive to get there. When we arrived, it was late afternoon. We stopped by the visitor center, grabbed a trail map, and decided we would try to do a little shooting while we still had some light. It was autumn, and the leaves had already started to change. So, it was beautiful, and we were a little anxious.


We found a trail near the visitor center. At the trailhead was a stream and a very small “waterfall”. We bypassed it and started on the trail. At this time, it was starting to get dark. Having no other flashlights than our cellphones, we decided to turn around and get a fresh start in the morning. On the way to the car, we stopped at the stream to shoot. While we were shooting, Abu slipped and hit his knee on a rock near the stream. We finished shooting and left for the hotel.

Toy Tripod

Before the trip, I asked Abu for some tips on landscape photography. One thing he told me was make sure I have a tripod and a level. I had a tripod that I was using to shoot videos at my personal training studio. It was labeled a “professional” tripod, and it worked fine for its intended purpose. But, it wasn’t sturdy enough to 1. withstand taking it into the rough terrain 2. withstand the ridicule I got for bringing a “toy tripod”.

Trail Time

We woke the next morning, had a quick breakfast, and headed to the park. After a short drive from the hotel, we reached the parking area to the trailhead (different from the night before). The brochure suggested getting there early to avoid parking issues, and it was correct. Now it was time to hit the trail. This is where the fun began.

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