Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2012-10-12 Day 1 - Waterfall Wandering and Camping Weekend

Waterfall Wandering and Camping Weekend
Day 1
Friday, October 12th, 2012
Highlands, NC area

My wife Amy was heading out of town this weekend, so I decided to plan my own trip.  At first, it didn't look like any of my hiking, photography, and/or camping buddies would be able to join me.  Fortunately Andy decided he would be able to meet me for some Saturday and Sunday Waterfall Wandering.

Andy suggested the Ammons Branch Campground near Highlands, NC.  I have never camped there, but it sounded good to me.  I didn't feel like waiting until Saturday, so I decided to leave work early on Friday and camp alone for the first evening.

I thought about making a few stops along the way, but since the Ammons Branch Campground only has five sites, I wanted to make sure I got one.  It was a good thing I didn't make any stops because I grabbed the last available site which certainly would have been taken if I had arrived any later.

I quickly set up my tent and put out a few camp chairs to claim the spot.  Several other vehicles drove though the small campground looking for campsites which reinforced my decision not to make any stops along the way.

After setting up camp, I decided there was time to visit a few waterfalls near Highlands, NC in good late afternoon light.  I decided to start with Cullasaja Falls, but unfortunately road construction along US64 had the only viewpoint closed off.  So instead my first waterfall of the weekend ended up being Quarry Falls a nice 15-foot roadside cascade.

Quarry Falls

Next up was Dry Falls, one of my favorites.  Not only did I have great light, but there was also some nice fall color.  Unfortunately there was a lot of people there making it difficult to get any shots without blurry humans in the photos!

Among all those people I ran into my buddy David Vanover.  I probably would have given up and headed on, but while chatting with Dave there was a short window of oppurnity to shoot a few human free photos of Dry Falls!

Dry Falls

Dry Falls

Since I was driving right by it, I decided to make a stop at Bridal Veil Falls another roadside waterfall.  It is not the most photogenic of all waterfalls, but pretty unique as you can actually drive underneath it.  When I arrived a motorcycle gang had lined up about 7 or 8 bikes underneath which made for an interesting photo.

Bridal Veil Falls

They soon left giving me the oppurtunity to get a few shots without any vehicles or people.

Bridal Veil Falls

Rather than going straight back to the campground, I decided there was enough light left for one more waterfall.

A few miles from the campground is the Waterfall on Scotsman Creek.  This requires a short but very steep scramble down the bank.  The path is a bit more established now than the last time I visited this one.  However, the butt slide manuver is still required in several spots in order to safely work your way down to the base.

Waterfall on Scotsman Creek

It was just about dark when I finished up, so I returned to the campground to build a fire, cook up some burgers, and settle in for the evening!

Me at the Ammons Branch Campground

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