Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2018-09-13 Rock Creek and Dick Creek Falls

The Waterfalls of Rock Creek and Dick Creek
Unaka Mountain Wilderness
Unicoi County, TN
with Mark and Brenda
Thursday, September 13th, 2018

Me and Mark at Dick Creek Falls #1

I decided to take Thursday off from work to get a little hiking in before Hurricane Florence arrived.  The waterfalls on Dick Creek have been on my to do list for a while, so Brenda, Mark, and I planned a hike to check them out.

We started our hike at the Rock Creek Recreation Area Campground.  Almost immediately, we saw signs for Rock Creek Falls which was not part of our original plan.  But since none of us has been to this one, we decided to check it out.

About 2 miles from the trailhead we arrived at Lower Rock Creek Falls.  A short scramble path down from the main trail takes you to the base of this one.

Lower Rock Creek Falls

 Lower Rock Creek Falls

Shortly up the trail we saw what we thought was the Upper Falls so we bushwhacked down to it.  Turns out it is not the Upper Falls, but it is a separate and significant enough drop that we are calling it Middle Rock Creek Falls.

Mark, Brenda, and Me at Middle Rock Creek Falls

Middle Rock Creek Falls

At about 3 miles from the trailhead, the Rock Creek Trail ends at Upper Rock Creek Falls.  This one was much more impressive than any of us was anticipating!  I figure it would be really spectacular with higher water flow!

Upper Rock Creek Falls

 Mark and Me at Upper Rock Creek Falls

 Mark at Upper Rock Creek Falls

 Upper Rock Creek Falls Selfie

 Mark at Upper Rock Creek Falls

The climb up to Upper Rock Creek Falls was over 1,000 feet in elevation gain.  This is about all that Brenda wanted to tackle, so she decided to hang back, take a more leisurely pace back to her vehicle, and let Mark and I explore Dick Creek on our own.

Here is the GPS Track from our hike:

There are multiple drops along Dick Creek.  I am calling the one furthest downstream Dick Creek Falls #1.  We hit them in order heading upstream starting with #1.

 Dick Creek Falls #1

 Dick Creek Falls #1

Once you get past #1, there is not much of a trail anymore, but it is a fairly easy bushwhack upstream to Dick Creek Falls #2.  I was a little disappointed in the amount of water flow.  Photos I have seen of this one show it to be much more impressive with higher flow!

 Dick Creek Falls #2

The bushwhacking/scrambling gets more difficult above and beyond Dick Creek Falls #2.  However, the effort pays off as #3 is the tallest of the bunch!

 Dick Creek Falls #3

The cave at the base of Dick Creek Falls #3

Mark has been to the first (3) on Dick Creek, but during his last trip he somehow missed #4!  So we were not heading back until we found it!  As a bonus, Dick Creek Falls #4 has a real nice swimming hole which we both took advantage of!

 Mark and Me at Dick Creek Falls #4

 Mark and Me at Dick Creek Falls #4

There are more drops upstream, but it is my understanding that they are not really worth the effort, especially compared to the main drops downstream.  Therefore we decided to turn back after #4.

We arrived back at the trailhead to find Brenda stretched out in the back of her SUV enjoying a nice nap!

We decided to end the day with a stop in Asheville, NC for some grub and a few beverages at Ben's Tune-Up!

 Mark, Brenda, and Me at Ben's Tune-up
Asheville, NC

The food was excellent but the service was a bit slow, especially considering it wasn't very busy.  I also got a sampler flight of the Sake that they brew on site!  Very interesting and I am glad I tried it, but I think I will stick with traditional beer.

This turned out to be an awesome day!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

2018-09-02 Lake Hartwell Paddle to LongNose Falls

Lake Hartwell Kayak Trip
to LongNose Falls  
(aka Longnose Creek Falls, or Fountain Falls)
with Johnny Corn
Oconee County, SC
Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Me at Longnose Falls

On Sunday I joined Johnny on a Lake Hartwell Kayak Paddle to visit LongNose Falls.  This one has been on my radar for quite some time and was grateful to finally get a chance to see it!

I met Johnny at the Table Rock State Park Visitors Center and followed him from there!

 The obligatory photo of Table Rock Mountain from the Visitors Center

Longnose Falls is located on the far northern end of Lake Hartwell.  It is surrounded by private property.

There are two ways to visit the falls without trespassing.
1.  Rent this house
2.  Paddle up from Lake Hartwell

We went with option #2.

There are many options of where to launch the Kayak.  We started from a large pull off along River Road.

 Johnny pointing out which way we are heading

From there it is about an hour paddle (at a very leisurely pace) to the base of LongNose Falls.
 Me paddling Lake Hartwell (photo by Johnny)

Most of the paddle is through a fairly shallow and narrow channel.  This is nice because it provides shade for most of the trip.  I am also not a huge fan of open water kayaking.  This trip only required a short section of open water until we hit the channel leading up Longnose creek!

Johnny paddling up the Longnose Creek Arm of Lake Hartwell

Johnny arriving at LongNose Falls

 Me at LongNose Falls (photo by Johnny)

 LongNose Falls

 LongNose Falls

Johnny at LongNose Falls

 Me at LongNose Falls (photo by Johnny)

 Johnny paddling back from LongNose Falls

Johnny paddling Lake Hartwell

Thanks Johnny for a great day on the water!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2018-08-19 Case Falls, Briefcase Falls, Emily Falls, and the Hungry River

Case Falls, Briefcase Falls, Emily Falls,
the Hungry River, and the Vegan Pizza!
Henderson and Polk County, NC
Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Brenda and Me at Briefcase Falls

Last week our Team Waterfall buddy John posted about a new waterfall he found on Case Creek in the Green River Gamelands of North Carolina.  I suggested to Brenda that we follow in his footsteps and check it out.  Our schedules aligned for some Sunday Morning Waterfall Wandering.

Page 142 of Kevin Adam's "North Carolina Waterfalls - 3rd Edition" has a listing for Case Falls which would be the first destination on our agenda!

There are also a few nice cascades upstream from Case Falls which we stopped to check along the way.

 Cascades upstream from Case Falls
Cascades upstream from Case Falls

Case Falls turned out to be not overly photogenic.  The main drop is covered with deadfall making it difficult to get a nice capture.  It could really use some waterfall maintenance!

Case Falls

From here it is a total bushwhack downstream to John's new discovery which he named Briefcase Falls.  This one is well worth the short hike and bushwhack!

Briefcase Falls

Brenda at Briefcase Falls

 Briefcase Falls

 Briefcase Falls Selfie

There is also another sliding type waterfall immediately downstream, but it was covered with deadfall and definitely not photo worthy in it's current state!

We bushwhacked back up to the main trail and continued on to the old Mill site on the Hungry River.  There is a nice waterfall right next to the old Mill which Kevin Adam's calls, "Lower Waterfall on Hungry River"

 Lower Waterfall on the Hungry River

Ruins of an old Mill along the Hungry River

This spot has potential for some very interesting photos!  The lighting wasn't very good, so I had to get creative with my compositions to come up with any post worthy photos!   I definitely hope to return here someday and capture the scene with some early morning fog!

Lower Waterfall on the Hungry River

 Lower Waterfall on the Hungry River

 Downstream from the old Mill on the Hungry River

View from above of the Lower Waterfall on the Hungry River

We returned back to my truck and continued on down Big Hungry Road to check out Emily Falls (Pages 142-143 of Kevin's book).

We immediately took a wrong turn out of the parking area which added a little distance and an unnecessary bushwhack.  However, our wrong turn also allowed us to turn this into a little loop hike instead of an out and back.

Emily Falls is only about 12 feet tall, but a very scenic spot.  It looked vaguely familiar to me, so I went through some of my old photos and trip reports and confirmed that I had been there way back in 2003, long before I knew it was called Emily Falls!

 Emily Falls

Emily Falls

 Emily Falls

 Emily Falls

Brenda at Emily Falls

After Emily Falls, I wanted to make one more stop to check out the Hungry River Dam.  Rumor has it that they will be tearing down the Dam and returning this section of River back to it's natural state.  I wanted to get a "before" photo for my archives before that happens!

Hungry River Dam

Brenda is passionate about her 100% Vegan lifestyle, so after our hike, I decided to join Brenda for lunch in Hendersonville, NC at "The Jazzy Vegetarian Vegan Cafe!"   I am not a Vegan, but I always like to try new things.  The fact that restaurant shares it's seating space with the Sanctuary Brewing Company was an added bonus!

I went with the Vegan Pepperoni Pizza!

 My first ever Vegan Pizza

The crust was good, the sauce was great, and I loved the fresh basil that topped it all off!  The Vegan "pepperoni" was a bit strange, but not bad.  My only real issue was the cheese!  I still prefer that my cheese comes from a cow!  Of course, that didn't stop me from eating the entire pizza!  And there were definitely some other items on the menu that I would be eager to try!

It was great to get together with Brenda again for a hike!

My complete set of photos is posted here: