Monday, May 18, 2015

2015-05-16 Horsepasture River Camping

Horsepasture River Camping
with Darrin and Bob
Nantahala National Forest, NC
Turtleback Falls, Stairway (aka Stairstep) Falls, Rainbow Falls
Saturday, May 16th, 2015

Me at Rainbow Falls

My buddy Andy and I have been hiking together for over 12 years ago, and for the past 12 years there have been many discussions about getting to the base of Windy Falls.  We have planned about ten different attempts over the years, but they always seem to get cancelled due to rain.  (You do not want to be anywhere near Windy Falls if the Rocks are wet).

So we planned another attempt for Sunday.

Several of us decided to get together on Saturday for some much easier warm-up waterfalling and camping the day before our attempt at Windy Falls.

I met Darrin and Bob at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead inside Gorges State Park shortly after noon on Saturday.  Our plan was to hike the Rainbow Falls trail and find a spot just outside the state park boundary along the Horsepasture River where there are several very nice primitive campsites.

This would be about a mile hike, which is long enough that it is definitely not car camping.  But short and easy enough that you can pack in a good bit of extra weight to bring some luxury items that you normally wouldn't bring along on an extended backpacking.  It is also a short enough hike that it is no big deal to make two trips, which is what I decided to do.

We were able to grab an awesome campsite.  Mostly flat with two fire rings and room for about seven or eight tents.  The site was actually quite a bit larger than we needed, but at this point we still thought there was a chance that several others might be joining us for the camp out.

 Our campsite along the Rainbow Falls Trail

After setting up camp we continued up the trail to Turtleback Falls to spend a few hours swimming, sliding, and jumping off the waterfall.  I've been here about a dozen times, but this was the first time I decided to actually slide down the waterfall!

 Me sliding down Turtleback Falls  (photo by Darrin)

 Darrin sliding down Turtleback Falls

 Bob sliding down Turtleback Falls

 Darrin doing a flip off the top of Turtleback Falls

Swimming and sliding down waterfalls builds up the appetite, so after a few hours of fun, I decided to hike back up to my truck to eat dinner and gather the remainder of my camping gear.

After dinner, Bob and I did the short hike down to Stairway Falls (aka Stairstep Falls), a nice multi-tiered cascading waterfall.
Bob at Stairway Falls (just before he fell in the river)

Stairway Falls

 Stairway Falls

My final short hike of the day would be to Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls on the Horsepasture River

 Rainbow Falls on the Horsepasture River

I actually considered making another visit to Rainbow Falls later in the evening to catch a starry sky above the falls.  Unfortunately it was a too overcast to get any star shots, so the only night time photography I did was around the campfire. 

Darrin, Me, and Bob hanging out around the campfire

 Fun with long exposure photography

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Coming Soon
Team Waterfall finally conquers Windy Falls

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