Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015-04-11 Jack and Amy's Anniversary Weekend Getaway - Day 1

Jack and Amy's Anniversary Weekend Getaway
Day 1 -  Saturday, April 11th, 2015
Nantahala River, NC
Whiteoak Creek Falls, NC
Camp Branch Falls, NC
Lake Ocoee (aka Parksville Lake), TN
Scenic Spur Trail, TN
Rock Creek Falls, TN
Secret Falls (aka Chestnut Falls), TN
Grant Summit Cabins, Bryant, AL
Chattanooga, TN


Amy and Jack at Rock Creek Falls

Amy and I decided to go for a little weekend getaway to celebrate our 7-year anniversary and my 45th Birthday.  Chattanooga, TN seemed like a good destination.  Amy never seems to fail at finding unique places to stay for our little getaways, and this time was no exception.  We booked a few nights at a cabin in Bryant, AL about 30 minutes outside of Chattanooga, TN.

There are about 114 different routes you can take from Spartanburg, SC to Chattanooga, TN which will all take roughly the same amount of time.  I selected a route through the far southwest corner of NC and southeast corner of TN that we have never been through so we could hit some new sights along the way.

First up would be a couple of roadside waterfalls starting with Whiteoak Creek Falls (page 550 of Kevin Adams 2005 Edition of "North Carolina Waterfalls").  Actually, we did stop to check out some nice cascades along the Nantahala River along the way to Whiteoak Creek Falls.
 Nice Cascades along the Nantahala River (horrible lighting)

Now on to Whiteoak Creek Falls which turned out to be much nicer than I was anticipating!
Whiteoak Creek Falls

 Whiteoak Creek Falls

 Whiteoak Creek Falls

We also made a stop at Camp Branch Falls (page 548 of Kevin Adams 2005 edition of "North Carolina Waterfalls).  I believe this one is much more overgrown than when Kevin wrote up his description 10 years ago.  I could not find a good spot to get a clear view of this waterfall.

Camp Branch Falls through the trees


The only shot of this one that I actually liked was just the very last drop as it joins the Nantahala River

The Final Cascade of Camp Branch Falls as it joins the Nantahala River



Now it was on into Tennessee.  I received a tip several years ago about some waterfalls on the Scenic Spur Trail in the Cherokee National Forest.  These are not in my Tennessee waterfall book, but still sounded like something I wanted to check out.  And the hike sounded "Amy Approved".

The Scenic Spur Trail starts just north of the US64/74 - Hwy 30 junction near the Parksville Lake Campground. 

 Lake Ocoee (aka Parksville Lake) near the Scenic Spur Trailhead

The hike is an easy 1.7 miles (3.4 mile out and back) to a really cool waterfall.

 Rock Creek Falls

The trail has a few little ups and downs with a total elevation gain of about 400 feet.  The only minor challenge are two creek crossings which were both borderline "Should I try to Rock Hop or just plan on getting my feet soaked?" 

Amy Crossing Rock Creek

There was also a nice assortment of wildflowers along the way!

 Chickweed

 Jack-in-the-Pulpit

 Trillium

 Dwarf Iris

Now back to the waterfall!  Rock Creek Falls is definitely one to add to your list.  Unfortunately, the bright sun did not make for optimal photo conditions.

Rock Creek Falls

 Lower Rock Creek Falls

Another cool thing was this area had the most Jack-in-the-Pulpits I have every seen in one place.  There were literally hundreds of them in bloom!

 Nice cluster of Jack-in-the-Pulpit Blooms

The trail officially ends here, but my tip told me about another waterfall a short distance upstream, so I found a scramble path to take me up and around the rock wall on the left side of Rock Creek Falls.  About 300 yards upstream is Secret Falls (aka Chestnut Falls).

 Secret Falls (aka Chestnut Falls) on Rock Creek

I will definitely need to get back here during more overcast conditions to see these again and to get some better photos.


After a nice hike to some impressive waterfalls, we decided to continue on to our cabin in Bryant, AL.  Awesome first impression of this place!

 Amy inside our cabin

Amy on the back deck or our cabin

After unpacking and settling in to our cabin, we made the 30 minute drive to Chattanooga to check out a couple of breweries.

We had a nice appetizer, and I enjoyed a flight of brew at the Chattanooga Brewing Company
Me enjoying a flight at the Chattanooga Brewing Company

Next up, we enjoyed a nice dinner and I had a second flight at the Terminal Brewhouse

The Terminal Brewhouse

After dinner we took a stroll along the Chattanooga riverfront area and managed to catch the sunset from the Walnut Street Bridge.

Sunset from the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge

After sunset, we returned to our cabin and finished up the day with a little night photography from the back deck.

Night Sky over the Tennessee River


The complete set of photos from Day 1 is posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/sets/72157649631997924/

1 comment:

Dana Koogler said...

What an awesome anniversary celebration! Congratulations to you both! Your photos look great to me, but I know you are your own harshest critic. If you ever do go back... check with me if you like on particulars on the OTHER falls above Secret Falls. There are several and once you are there at that spot most of them are not hard to reach. I've seen all but one of them and it will take a completely separate trip to get that one!