Sunday, May 16, 2010

Virginia Hawkis Falls

Saturday, May 15th, 2010
Pickens County, SC

The original plan for the day was a Kayak Trip / Bushwhacking Adventure to seek out some very hard to get to waterfalls. With the weather forecast calling for an almost certainty of afternoon thunder showers, we elected to scrap those plans for another day and go with Plan B.

Plan B was basically no plan at all. We would just play it by ear and do a series of short hikes so we would never be too far from the vehicle when the showers decided to arrive.

I met Johnny at his house and we drove up together to the Foothills Trailhead parking area off of Horsepasture Road in Rocky Bottom, SC where we met Paul. We piled into Paul's truck and continued up Horsepasture Road with plans of going all the way to Jumping Off Rock for some awesome views of Lake Jocassee.

Unfortunately, Johnny got his dates messed up and the road to Jumping Off Rock is now closed for the season. For some reason, they only unlock the gates during certain times of the year.

Here are the official dates that the road is open:

September 15th - January 1st
March 20th - May 10th

As it turns out, we were actually very fortunate to have to go with Plan C and D.  However I can't include any details or photos from our fortune!

Since we could only take Horsepasture Road as far as Laurel Fork Gap, we decided to hike from there to Virginia Hawkins Falls.

Virginia Hakins Falls

As I was about to put on my hiking boots, I realized that I had made a critical mistake when packing my hiking gear! I had two different hiking boots? Fortunately, at least I had a left and a right and once I got them on, I didn't really notice they were different. As long as I didn't look down!

The hike to Virginia Hawkins Falls is about a mile (one way) downhill on a wide track forest service road. We didn't see much in the way of wildflowers, but the Mountain Laurel was sure putting on a show!

Mountain Laurel Blooms

We got to Virginia Hawkins Falls at the perfect time as the sun had not yet made its way above the ridge. Photo conditions of this small but very scenic waterfall were just about perfect!

Virginia Hawkins Falls

After about 30 minutes photographing the falls, the sun decided to rise above the ridgeline which was our signal that it was time to move on.

Our next plan was to try and access Sky Falls! I had visited this spectacular waterfall last summer for the first time. On that trip we took Johnny's sailboat and camped out along the shores of lake Jocassee. The next morning, we bushwhacked upstream to Sky Falls.

Today we would try a different way to get to Sky Falls.

We drove up to Rosman, NC to see if we could enter the Round Mountain Community to gain access. This is definitely the easiest way to get to Sky Falls, but unfortunately Round Mountain is a gated community and we were unable to gain entry.

We were all feeling a bit dejected as our various plans for the day were falling apart.

I can't go into any detail about what happened later or post any photos.  All I can say is we got permission to see some spactacular waterfalls on Private Property.  However, I was asked to not post any details or photos.

It was a great day!

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