Monday, March 30, 2015

2015-03-29 Fungi Falls and Little Bradley Falls

Fungi Falls and Little Bradley Falls
Green River Gamelands
Polk County, NC
Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Fungi Finally Finds Fungi Falls

Fungi (aka Andy Kunkle) at Fungi Falls

Several years ago Andy and I were studying the topo maps of the Green River Gamelands looking for areas with waterfall potential.  This led us to discovering (3) significant waterfalls on Little Cove Creek and its tributaries.

Andy also pointed out a spot along Ostin Creek that he thought had waterfall potential.  For some reason, I never felt very optimistic that Ostin Creek would amount to anything.  I just thought it would be a long series on nondescript slides and small cascades.

Fast forward a few years.  Andy is drinking a few beers with North Carolina Waterfall Guru Kevin Adams, and pulls out his Green River Gamelands maps to get Kevin's take on Ostin Creek.

So the next day, Kevin ends up seeking out Ostin Creek and does indeed find a waterfall.   Even though Andy had not actually been there to document his discovery, Kevin decided to give Andy Credit and called this one Fungi Falls after Andy's "trail name".   Andy and his wife Christy go by Fungi and Fungirl when out on the trails.


So this past weekend, Andy, Bob, and I planned a last minute hike to finally see Fungi Falls for ourselves.  We decided on Sunday, since this is gamelands and Sunday is the only day of the week that hunting is not allowed in the state of North Carolina.

Andy and I arrived at the Bradley Falls trailhead at exactly the same time.  I would have arrived sooner if it wasn't for that slow-poke in Prius in front of me.

We got a call from Bob who somehow missed the Saluda, NC exit and ended up somewhere near Asheville.  Andy eventually got Bob straightened out, but since it would be another 30 minutes or so before Bob arrived, Andy, Boone, Kona, and I did a little warm up hike to a scenic area on Cove Creek a short distance upstream from Big Bradley Falls.

 Cove Creek and a small un-named tributary waterfall


By the time we got back to the trailhead, Bob and Sobie had arrived.  We continued up Holbert Cove Road for about 1.5 miles to a gated Gamelands access road to begin the main hike of the day.

The gate was locked, so we just parked along the shoulder of Holbert Cove Road next to the gate.  There is room for about 5 or 6 vehicles here.  The first 0.7 miles is rather easy and you would actually be able to drive this section if the gate was open.  A large mound of dirt at this point would prevent you from taking a vehicle any further.

We continued on over the dirt mound and soon crossed over Ostin Creek.  From here you pretty much head downstream.   We continued on an old logging road grade which gradually descended in the general direction we wanted to go.

GPS Track to Fungi Falls (click on map to zoom in)

As we got close to the waterfall, we had to leave the gentle grade and find another way down.  We chose a gully which looked good at first, but in hindsight was probably not the best way to go.  However, it did get us down to the base of Fungi Falls!

 Fungi Falls

 Bob at Fungi Falls

Fungi Falls is nice and it turned out to be much easier to get to that I had anticipated.  Total distance is only about 1.25 miles (one way) and only the finally scramble down to the base poses any major difficulty. I would estimate the waterfall to be a series of drops totaling about 80-feet high.  It is difficult to capture the entire falls in one photo.

Me at Fungi Falls

A short distance downstream from the main drop, is another scenic drop of about 10-feet.  I'll call this one Lower Fungi Falls.
 
Lower Fungi Falls

 Me at Lower Fungi Falls

 Kona, Boone, and Andy at Fungi Falls

Fungi gets some tongue action at Fungi Falls!

After getting our fill of Fungi Falls, there was still plenty of time left for another short hike.   Little Bradley Falls is one of my favorites and since Bob had never been we decided to show him the way.

There were loads of wildflowers in bloom along the 1.2 mile (one way) trail to Little Bradley Falls.

 Wildflowers along the trail to Little Bradley Falls

 Fiddleheads and Toadshade Trillium

Bloodroot


Little Bradley Falls is always nice. Today there was not a cloud in the sky making for a beautiful afternoon.  However the bright sun shining directly above the waterfall made for some horrible photo conditions.  I was still happy with the way some of these turned out:
   
 Little Bradley Falls

 Bob at Little Bradley Falls

 Sobie at Little Bradley Falls

 Me at Little Bradley Falls
 Upper Drop of Little Bradley Falls

 Bob at Little Bradley Falls

 Little Bradley Falls

The complete set of photos is posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/sets/72157649308526434/

2 comments:

fungi said...

I measured the distance on Holbert Cove Road from the crossing of Cove Creek to the gated game lands access road at 1.5 miles.

Dana Koogler said...

Nice trip report! Great find! Thanks for sharing your adventures and the info. Sounds like fun. That is such a pretty area.