The attackers left no trail to follow. Not wanting to stay in the remains of the camp they set out around the shore of the lake. There was a waterfall at the far end of the lake where a mountain stream fed into the lake and Tobal wanted to explore that. He had noticed it on his first trip around the lake and something about it called to him. Now he wanted to check it out more closely.
The country was rough and they were careful to keep their own trail hidden. The next camps Tobal and Melanie made were small and well hidden. They now knew why no one else built anything on the lake. It was an obvious target for anyone going up or coming down stream. It was simply not safe and asking for trouble to build there permanently.
The end of the lake with the waterfall was very rocky and difficult to travel. There was no shore and the rock simply dropped down into the water. What Tobal had in mind was finding some way to go upstream and explore with Melanie a couple weeks until the gathering. Perhaps he could find a better place to set up a main camp. With this goal in mind they struggled through the maze of rock, boulders and vegetation until reaching the edge of the water on the left side of the waterfall.
The waterfall was thirty feet high and you could tell it was ancient since it had once been ten feet higher. Erosion by water in the stream bed caused the rock on both sides of the stream to rise like stone pillars hidden by pine trees and forest vegetation. It was a small stream only ten feet wide. The falling water arched over a narrow ledge that disappeared into blank stone wall at the other end of the fall. Where they stood the ledge opened into a small patio like area that was flat and free of rock. It was less than a foot higher than the lake and formed a deep pool.
The water fell into the lake with a roar and violence that made the water churn and froth, but on the side where they were standing the water was inviting and made just for swimming. There was a ledge slightly below the surface of the water so a swimmer could easily climb back out after diving into the icy water. Tobal probed the hidden ledge with his walking stick and the shock of discovery made icy chills explode at the base of his spine. It wasn't a ledge at all. It was the first of at least three steps that had been deliberately carved into the rock leading down into the pool of water. This was something he needed to explore more deeply on his own later.
The discovery of the stone stairs made him more alert and he carefully examined the small patio area where they stood. Melanie shared his excitement and enthusiasm. She finally found what they both were looking for. The cliff face jutted out in in a rough and uneven manner.