Shunkawauken Falls, and White Oak Mountain
Polk County, NC
Sunday, August 15th, 2010
Photos are posted here:
Me at Little Bradley Falls
For today I would meet up in person with one of my online photography friends for the first time. The plan was to visit some of the waterfalls in Polk County, NC. The great thing about this area is it is only about 30 minutes from my house, so even though we were getting a fairly early start, I didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn!
I met Charles at the I-26 Landrum, SC exit Burger King a little before 8:00am, and after a quick BK cholesterol boost we combined into my truck and headed on to the Bradley Falls Trailhead.
We decided to start with Little Bradley Falls. It is a fairly easy hike of about 1-mile one way (2 miles out and back). You can make it a shorter hike if you don't mind a steep scramble down from the road, but I prefer just taking the trail from the Bradley Falls Trailhead.
We had some good rain the previous day, so the creek was a little higher and muddier than usual. This made the creek crossing slightly more difficult and there would be no way of rock hopping across. Fortunately, since we both planned on getting wet it was really not an issue.
Charles crossing Cove Creek
Little Bradley Falls is definitely one of my favorites and we hit it with just about optimal photo conditions. The only slight negative was the muddier than usual water. We did not let that bother us as we snapped away!
Little Bradley Falls
We scrambled up above the lower tier drop for additional photos. I thought briefly about heading up to the upper tier, but with the slick rocks we decided that would not be a good idea. We had the place to ourselves and probably spent about an hour photographing the falls.
The middle tier of Little Bradley Falls
Charles at Little Bradley Falls
After we had our fill of Little Bradley, we returned back the way we came and headed on to Big Bradley Falls. We took a brief pause to try and photograph some butterflies fluttering about some wildflowers.
Butterfly at the Bradley Falls Trailhead
On the hike to Big Bradley Falls we made a stop to photograph another un-named waterfall on a small side tributary. This is normally just a small trickle which sometimes dries up completely. I was hoping for a little more flow, but today it was just a slightly heavier trickle than usual. It still made for some good photo opportunities.
Cove Creek and a small Tributary Trickle of a Waterfall
Charles photographing Cove Creek
For Big Bradley Falls, we decided to head to one of the cliff outcrops which offers a distant view of the Falls. By now the sun was making an appearance making photo conditions a bit more challenging, but we did our best. I figure this is where Charles's HDR editing techniques will really come in handy.
I did experiment with taking multiple exposures of the same shot. I might try to download some trial HDR software and do a little experimenting, but for now my images are straight from the camera with minimal editing.
Big Bradley Falls
Iggy at Big Bradley Falls
The best view of Big Bradley Falls is from the base. However, after describing the very steep trail, including a rope repel/climb down a rock wall, Charles decided he wasn't up for that. So instead we decided to head on to one more waterfall with a roadside view.
You can view the waterfall from your vehicle or a couple of small pull-offs a short distance from the falls offers you the opportunity to safely get out for a closer look.
After photographing Shunkawauken Falls for a while another group arrived which we took as our cue to head up the road a short distance for a couple of great viewpoints.
Charles at White Oak Mountain
Just about all of White Oak Mountain is private property, but the best viewpoints have signs that allow visitors to enjoy the views. So that is what we did!
view from White Oak Mountain
view from White Oak Mountain
It was a great morning of Waterfall Wandering and Photography!
My full set of photos is posted here: