Monday, October 26, 2020

2020-10-21 Big Thunder Falls, Holcomb Creel Falls, Ammons Branch Falls

Big Thunder Falls, Holcomb Creek Falls,
and Ammons Branch Falls
with Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy
Rabun County, GA
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Big Thunder Falls


Big Thunder Falls has been on my radar for several years now.  When Kyle and Angelina mentioned they had an afternoon appointment up that way, I suggested Big Thunder Falls.  It turned out to be the perfect adventure to start the day!

 
Note:  Do not trust any map applications or websites for driving directions.  Most will have you turning on gated roads that are not accessible to motorized vehicles.   If you are coming from the west, you can use this website for driving directions:

 
Or if you are coming from the southeast like we were you can follow this route:  
Turn on Warwoman Road from Hwy28.  
Turn on Overflow Creek Road and continue past John Teague Gap  (Three Forks Trailhead).  
From John Teague Gap, continue on Hale Ridge Road
Turn North on FR86B (Billingsly Creek Road).   
Park before the gate.

While I waited for Kyle and Angelina, I took the short and obvious path down to Put-in Falls.
 
Put-in Falls
 
 
Giant Culvert above Put-in Falls
 
The hike to Big Thunder continues on FR86B past the gate.  The road is overgrown and long pants are definitely recommended, but there are no major obstacles along the way.  
 
At some point you will either have to creek walk upstream, or Bushwhack.   We creekwalked on the way in and Bushwhacked on the way out.  The Bushwhack route we took out was definitely easier, more direct, and much quicker than the creekwalk.
 
Here are some of the photos from our adventure:
 
Kyle checking out the trees

Kyle, Sammy, and Angelina taking a break at a Log Jam on Clear Creek

Working or way towards Big Thunder Falls

Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy at Big Thunder Falls
 
 
Big Thunder Falls
 
Group Photo at Big Thunder Falls
 
 
After Big Thunder, we still had a little time left, so we decided to hike the Holcomb Creek Falls loop off of Hale Ridge Road.
 
Holcomb Creek Falls

Group Photo at Holcomb Creek Falls
L to R:  Sammy, Kyle, Angelina, Me
 
Holcomb Creek Falls

Ammons Branch Falls

Group Photo at Ammons Branch Falls


It was a beautiful day to explore some of Georgia's finest waterfalls with some great friends.
 
My complete set of photos is posted here:

 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

2020-10-15 Laurel Mountain / Pilot Rock hike

Laurel Mountain / Pilot Rock Shuttle Hike
With Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy
Pisgah National Forest
Transylvania County, NC
Thursday, October 15th, 2020
 
Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy on Little Bald Mountain
 
 
Kyle, Angelina, Sammy and I enjoyed a nice hike along the Laurel Mountain Trail and Pilot Rock Trail.
 
We decided to do the hike as a shuttle starting at Yellow Gap and heading up the Laurel Mountain Trail and down Pilot Rock trail. Total distance was about 11 miles.
 
 
 
Here are some of the photos from a beautiful day along the trail with some good friends:
 
Selfie with Angelina and Sammy along the laurel Mountain Trail

Sammy and Kyle checking out some cool rocks and caves along the Laurel Mountain Trail

Angelina and Sammy along the Laurel Mountain Trail

Kyle and Angelina along the Laurel Mountain Trail

Sammy waiting patiently to climb Little Bald Mountain

View from Little Bald Mountain

Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy at Little Bald Mountain

Dog Tired!

Angelina and Sammy hiking through one of many Rhododendron Tunnels

Angelina and Sammy along the Pilot Rock Trail

Kyle and Sammy on Pilot Rock

View from Pilot Rock

Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy along the Pilot Rock Trail
The sun hit the lens at just the right angle to create a lens flare rainbow in the photo
 
 
It was a beautiful day to be outside with some great friends.  Overall on the day we ran across eight other humans (2 mountain bikers + 6 hikers) and one other dog. 
 

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Friday, October 16, 2020

2020-10-11 thru 2020-10-13 Huntington Beach and Murrells Inlet

Huntington Beach State Park
and Murrells Inlet, SC
Sunday, October 11th, 2020 
thru Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
 
 
Huntington Beach State Park Rainbow Sunset Panorama
 
It has been a while since we last saw the ocean, so we decided it was about time to plan a short trip down to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
 
We rented a nice Airbnb called Shug's Shack for our two nights along the coast.
 
Our Airbnb Rental
   
Shug's Shack is a short walk from several excellent restaurants.  For Covid-19 safety purposes, we ate all of our meals outside and at off peak times.   
 
Outdoor dining with my Love at Nance's Seafood Restaurant

 
After dinner we drove to the beach for sunset and so Amy could fly her kite.  
 
My Love

Kite flying selfie with Amy

Amy in her Happy Place!


UFO Landing Strip
 
 
Huntington Beach State Park is an easy 5 minute drive from Shug's Shack and our rental even included a SC State Park parking pass.  So I got up early and drove over to Huntington Beach for Sunrise both mornings.  
 
Monday Morning Sunrise at Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach at Sunrise

The area has gotten a lot of rain recently which made for some cool reflections in this flooded picnic area!
 
Reflections of a flooded picnic area at Huntington Beach State Park

 
Here are a few more photos from our day in Murrells Inlet

Cool Tree at Huntington Beach State Park

There is a reason why Huntington Beach State Park is very popular for bird watchers

Social Distance Dining with My Love

Great White Egret

Selfie with my Love

Apparently Drunken Jack was a popular guy around these parts

Enjoying a flight with Dinner with My Love


Dinner View from the Inlet Provision Company
 
After dinner Amy and I drove over to Huntington Beach State Park for Sunset.  We saw at least a dozen Alligators around the marsh area experienced one of the most amazing beach sunsets that I have ever seen!  

One of many Gators we saw at Huntington Beach State Park

Huntington Beach State Park at Sunset

Huntington Beach at Sunset

Sunset at Huntington Beach

Rainbow at Sunset over Huntington Beach

Rainbow Selfie with My Love

Just a Puddle on the Beach

The sunrise the next morning was nowhere near as dramatic, but I still enjoyed my morning sunrise stroll along the beach before heading home!


Huntington Beach State Park Sunrise


Starfish on the Beach
 
 Drunken Jack Island

 
Huntington Beach Sunrise
 
 
My complete set of photos is posted here:

2020-10-21 Big Thunder Falls, Holcomb Creel Falls, Ammons Branch Falls

Big Thunder Falls, Holcomb Creek Falls, and Ammons Branch Falls with Kyle, Angelina, and Sammy Rabun County, GA Wednesday, October 21st, 202...