Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014-07-27 Yellow Fork of Paddys Creek Adventure

Yellow Fork of Paddy's Creek Adventure
Linville Gorge Wilderness, NC
Sunday, July 27th, 2014

 Waterfall on the Yellow Fork of Paddy's Creek

A little over a year ago Andy learned about a new waterfall on the Yellow Fork of Paddy's Creek.  I wasn't able to make that hike or the last one when he returned for another visit with Brenda.

Brenda was so impressed, she was eager to get back.  But this time, she decided to make the trek a little more adventurous by turning it into a full day loop hike, instead of just an out and back.  This would require a section of bushwhacking through an area that none of us had ever explored.  Fortunately, I am always up for this type of adventure.

 Brenda's GPS Track
The red is our actual route and way points
The blue flags were manually plugged in beforehand to guide us on our planned bushwhack

 Elevation Profile

Darrin decided to join us as well and rode up with me from Spartanburg, and Brenda brought along her friend Dan making us a group of four.

We started our hike along the Kistler Highway (the dirt road that runs along the western rim of Linville Gorge) and headed north on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail for a little over a mile.  We then turned left to the south-west on Dobson Road.  Soon after Darrin spotted the first real photo opportunity of the hike.  A pair of rattlesnakes hanging out alongside the road.  I kept a safe distance and used my full zoom range to snap a few shots of the rattlers.

 Rattlesnake Close-up

 A Pair of Rattlers!

Continuing on, we reached the point where Dobson Road is gated and soon after picked up an unofficial trail that headed in the general direction that we had planned to go.  This "trail" soon fizzled out and we entered into full bushwhack mode.  I thought briefly about zipping on my pant legs, but it was a hot and humid morning and keeping my legs exposed would be much more comfortable.

The brush was thick and I definitely drew some blood, but compared to other bushwhacks we have been on, this was not too bad.  Following the path of least resistance and using Brenda's GPS to keep us headed in the general direction brought us right to where we wanted to be!  The confluence of the Black and Yellow Forks of Paddy's Creek.

 Darrin sucking on his Life Straw!

Even though we had bushwhacked mostly downhill, we were all drenched with sweat.  So we took a short break to cool off in the creek before continuing on with our adventure.

It was a very pleasant creek walk up the Yellow Fork of Paddy's Creek and we soon came across an awesome swimming hole, so we took a break for a nice swim.  The water was definitely cool and refreshing!

Darrin diving into an awesome swimming hole!

We continued up the creek passing several more spectacular swimming holes before arriving at the base of the main attraction!  This one is definitely a beauty!

 Waterfall on the Yellow Fork of Paddy's Creek

We probably spent close to two hours here!  Swimming, Sliding, Jumping off Rocks, and eating lunch before deciding to head on up and complete the loop.
 Me taking a swim

 Dan jumping off the rock

 Darrin and Brenda

There is actually an unofficial trail that takes you from the main road to the base of this waterfall.  It is not marked and does not show up on any map that I am aware of.  It would be very difficult to spot if you didn't know where to look.  Brenda's GPS track should help if you decide to check this one out for yourself.

It is a steep climb, but compared to the earlier bushwhacking it was a relatively easy end to an awesome hike and an awesome day!  It is always a pleasure hiking with Brenda and Darrin.  And it was nice meeting Dan!  He proved he has what it takes to be a member of "Team Waterfall"!

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Annual Family Beach Vacation

Annual Thyen Family Beach Vacation
to the Outer Banks of North Carolina
June 2014

The whole gang at our Beach House

We had a great time last week during our annual family beach vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The photos are posted here: