Monday, June 25, 2012

What caused my wife to freak!

This guy was hanging (literally) out alongside our garage as Amy arrived home from work!

Just a harmless Black Snake.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dog Sitting

This week we are dog sitting a pair of Shitzus for some friends who went on vacation.

 They seem quite content!

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012-06-09 Sweet Thing

Sweet Thing
Greenville County, SC
Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Sweet Thing

After finishing up our Carson Creek Adventure and getting the flat tire changed out on my truck. We decided we had time for one more short hike.

A few weeks ago I saw a waterfall photo on Darrin's Facebook page called "Sweet Thing" and inquired about it's location.   When I heard where it was I was amazed that I have never heard of it before.  So to close out our day Darrin would show Andy and I exactly where it is.

It is on Public Property and a nice trail leads right to it!  However, the trail is not signed, there is no real parking area, and you would never spot it if you didn't know exactly where to look.  About halfway between the US-276/Hwy 11 split and Wildcat Roadside Falls another small stream passes under the road.

We parked in the grassy area alongside the road and made our way upstream.  About 100 yards upstream we arrived at the first waterfall which I am calling Lower Sweet Thing for lack of a better name.

Lower Sweet Thing

After spending a few minutes photographing the lower falls, we continued up the trail for about a quarter mile to the main attraction!

Sweet Thing

Sweet thing is a real pretty free fall of about 15-20 feet.  Again I can't believe I never heard about this one before!

Sweet Thing

We finished up the day with some nice greasy Burgers and Fries at the Echo Valley Gas Station in Cleveland, SC.

The perfect ending to a great day of Waterfall Wandering.

The complete set of "Sweet Thing" Photos is posted here:

Carson Creek Adventure
Transylvania County, NC
Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Silver Slip Falls

Andy, Darrin, and I figured the morning's CMLC hike would finish up around lunchtime giving us the afternoon for another hike.  Several ideas were tossed around, but I came up with the suggestion to just play it by ear!

During the mornings hike, we received a tip on how to get to the base of Silver Run Falls on Carson Creek.  Silver Run Falls is the spot where Connestee Falls and Batson Creek Falls Merge together and form a single waterfall as one.  Rumor has it this it is a pretty spectacular spot!

After receiving the tip, we all decided that would be our afternoons adventure.

We took a brief stop to check on my truck tire which was looking pretty darn low earlier in the day and noticed it was even lower.  But we would worry about that later!

Following the directions we received, we bushwhacked our way down towards Carson Creek.  Since some after hike research shows that we actually crossed private property, I am not going to post any directions.  However, the only signs we saw during our hike were saying that the land was protected by the Pacolet Area Conservancy.

Once reaching the creek, we immediately found a series of nice cascades.

Cascades along Carson Creek

We decided to head upstream first since that was the direction of Silver Slip Falls.  We stopped on several occasions to check out and photograph some additional cascades and small waterfalls.

Cascades along Carson Creek

We eventually made our way to the base of Silver Slip Falls, which is truly spectacular.  There is a great swimming hole at the base of the falls which Darrin decided to take advantage of.

Darrin at the base of Silver Slip Falls

We spent a good hour there taking it all in and photographing this awesome waterfalls from all vantage points!

Silver Slip Falls

After getting our fill of Silver Slip Falls, we backtracked a bit and continued downstream from where we originally arrived at the creek.  The creek was full of Cascades and Small Waterfalls!  Here is what we found!

Cascades along Carson Creek

 Andy photographing some Cascades along Carson Creek

 Me in Carson creek

 Cascades along Carson Creek
Andy is in the top right of the photo to give a sense of scale

 Small Waterfall along Carson Creek

Cascades along Carson Creek

We did run into a large group of about a dozen young girls who were coming up from the Gwynn Valley Camp downstream.  They warned us that if we continued much further we would enter into the private property of the Gwynn Valley Camp.  The stream looked like it leveled out, so I believe we hit all the highlights.

This was definitely an awesome Waterfall Wandering Adventure!

The Complete set of photos is posted here:

When we returned to my truck, my low tire was now almost completely flat.  Fortunately between the three of us, we were able to figure out how to change over to the spare.  I am pretty sure we would not have impressed any NASCAR pit crews, but we got the job done and decided to head on for one more short adventure to close out the day!

Coming up tomorrow:  Sweet Thing!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CMLC Hike to Connestee Falls
Transylvania County, NC
Saturday, June 9th, 2012

 Connestee Falls

I have stopped several times at the Connestee Falls Overlook along US-276.  However, this public viewpoint really doesn't provide a good view of the waterfall.  I have always wanted to get a better view!  Unfortunately all the trails that lead to good viewpoints are on private property.

When I saw that the Carolina Mountain and Land Conservancy (CMLC) was offering a hike inside the private and Gated Connestee Falls Community that would lead to the view of the falls that I always wanted, I just had to sign up!

My buddies Andy and Darrin also decided they wanted to take advantage of this rare opportunity!  I met Andy in Spartanburg and we rode together up to the Connesstee Falls Overlook where we would meet the rest of the group.  During the drive, I noticed that the low tire pressure warning light on my dash was lit up.  Once we parked, we found my left rear tire was significantly low.  Not quite flat, but definitely a good bit lower than it should be.

We decided to worry about that later and loaded our stuff into Darrin's vehicle to follow the leader to the tailhead inside the Connestee Falls Community.

 Lake Ticoa - near the trailhead inside the Connestee Falls Development

Since there is generally a large number of people who sign up for these CMLC hikes, the group was split into (3) smaller groups.  Our group consisted of Penny, our hike leader, Andy, Darrin, Me, and three other women who's names I can't recall (I am horrible with remembering names!).

Since these trails are all on private property and not accessible to the public, I am not going to post any directions or details.  Instead just share some of my photos.
  Many of the trails cross very steep terrain.
But well designed and constructed switchbacks make things much easier

Connestee Falls.  The view I've wanted to see for a long time.
The platform above is the viewpoint open to the public which is not very good

Middle Falls on Batson Creek

Upper Falls on Batson Creek

Our hike leader Penny was a wonderful guide and was very patient with us, giving us plenty of time to photograph the waterfalls.  I really enjoyed the hike and appreciated the opportunity to check out these trails and waterfalls!

The Complete set of photos is posted here:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Piglet Enemy
at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival
Tryon, NC
Friday, June 8th, 2012

My buddies Steve, Jeff, and Ron of the Piglet Enemy BBQ team were competing in this years Blue Ridge BBQ Festival.  So after work, Amy and I decided to head up and hang out with them for a few hours.  We were treated to some great food, FABs, and good times! 

Ron, Jeff, and Steve - The Piglet Enemy BBQ Team

Checking on the Grub

Me enjoying some BBQ

My beautiful wife Amy

Ron with his daughter Alyssa

Piglet Enemy

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

2012-06-02 Grandfather Mountain - Day 2

Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend
Day 2
Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

I don't feel like writing a trip report detailing everything that went on this past weekend.  Instead, I will just share my photos.
 On Top of Grandfather Mountain

One of the Otters putting on a show for the kids

 Fly on a Flame Azelea

 Moth Macro

 Black Bear Sticking out its tongue

 Otter Standing at attention

 Otter at meal time

 Grandfather Mountain


 Golden Eagle

 Cool Cloud



 Just after Sunset

 Our Campfire

 Cool tree at our campsite

 Night shot of Grandfather Mountain

Star Trails - Playing around with Long Exposure

The complete set of photos from Day 2 is posted here: