Monday, January 21, 2013

2013-01-19 Waterfall Wandering

Waterfall Wandering Adventure
Mountain Bridge Wilderness, SC
Mash Box Falls, Misty Falls, Boone Falls,
and Chute Falls
Saturday, January 19th, 2013


Mash Box Falls and Misty Falls have been on my to do list for several years.  However, they are both on fairly low volume streams and need a good bit of water flow to be worthwhile.  With four straight days of steady rain earlier in the week, this seemed like a good time to make my first visit to these two waterfalls.

Andy, Boone, and Kona met me in Spartanburg and rode with me to where the Pinnacle Pass Trail crosses over US-276.  At the trailhead we ran into a large group of Boy Scouts being led by our buddy Darrin.  They would be doing a different hike, but it was a nice surprise to see Darrin again.  We chatted for a few minutes before beginning our hike.

We descended the Pinnacle Pass which at this point is actually a dirt road, down a series of long switchbacks before leaving the trail on another no longer maintained road. 

We crossed over a smaller tributary stream just upstream from where it flows into the main branch of Oil Camp Creek.  Misty Falls is a few hundred yards upstream on this tributary, but we would hit that on the way out.  We made a quick stop to photograph a nice little cascade on the main branch.  With the bright sunshine, it would not be an optimal day for waterfall photography, but it was a beautiful day to be out in the woods!

Cascades down stream of Mash Box Falls

There are no signs or blazes, but the old road is easy enough to follow almost all the way to the base of Mash Box Falls.

 Mash Box Falls

While not quite a trail, I would not really consider this to be a bushwhack.  The only moderately difficult part is the last few hundred yards.  Due to the poor lighting, we didn't spend a whole lot of time photographing the falls.  I will definitely make a return trip in the future when the photo conditions are better.

We missed it on the way in, but on the way out we did find the Mash Box from an old moonshine operation.

The Mash Box

We backtracked to the tributary and followed it upstream.  This was definitely a steep climb and much more of a bushwhack, but fortunately it was relatively short.  Again, photo conditions were not good, so we didn't spend a whole lot of time at Misty Falls.

Misty Falls

It was only about noon when we returned to my truck, so there was still plenty of time for more hiking.  But first we made a quick detour up to Caesars Head so Andy could buy a new map.

A light frosting of snow at Caesars Head

Our next adventure would be to head to the Falls Creek Falls Trailhead at Jones Gap State Park. 

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The previous weekend, Andy, Darrin, Brenda, and the dogs were exploring Little Falls Creek looking for new waterfalls.  They found one that none of us had seen before a short distance upstream from where Little Falls Creek Flows into Falls Creek.

Near the top of the waterfall Andy's Dog Boone slipped into the creek and slid down the entire length of the waterfall, which is probably about a 70-foot drop!

Fortunately and amazingly, Boone survived the fall with no injuries!  However, this thwarted their plans to continue exploring further upstream.   Since none of us are aware of this waterfall having an official name, we are calling it Boone Falls.

 Boone

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For some reason, Andy wanted to return to Boone Falls and continue the exploration upstream.  We hiked about a mile up the Falls Creek Falls Trail and started our bushwhack just before the trail crosses Little Falls Creek.

 Kona

Boone Falls is actually only a few hundred yards upstream and very easy to get to.  It is not the most photogenic of all waterfalls, but still an impressive sight. 

 Boone Falls

After a quick photography break we continued upstream.  Based on last weekends mis-adventure Andy was not about to let the dogs get two close to the creek as we continued upstream.

We made it a good ways before running into huge cliffs and bounders.  There is definitely no trail here!  Between the boulders, cliffs, briars, and thick brush we eventually gave up. 

We both believe there is at least one additional significant waterfall upstream from where we ended up, but we were not able to make it that far.  Of course this does not mean we have given up for good!  Studying the maps we have an alternate plan to get further up the Little Falls Creek on a future adventure.

There was still a little bit of time left, so we made a quick visit to Chute Falls located downstream from Falls Creek Falls.  The main trail does not take you to Chute Falls, but an obvious side trail shortly after the crossing Little Falls Creek makes it easy to get to.

The sun was low enough in the sky that we had our first and only good photo conditions on the day!

 Me at some cascades downstream from Chute Falls

Chute Falls

This was another very enjoyable day of Waterfall Wandering!

The Complete set of photos is posted here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/sets/72157632575830129/

2 comments:

JD Schaefer said...

Very nice. Trip report and photos.

James Robert Smith said...

Chute Falls looks like a really good one. Probably the best one of the day, to my way of thinking.