Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015-08-15 Windy Falls - Take 2

Team Waterfall Adventure
Windy Falls on the Horsepasture River
Nantahala National Forest
Transylvania County, NC
Saturday, August 15th, 2015

 Windy Falls - Take 2

Earlier this year, we finally made it to the base of Windy Falls.  Almost immediately after, we started talking about a return visit!  So this past Saturday Darrin organized the Team Waterfall Troops and we hit the rarely visited section of the Horsepasture River known as Windy Falls.

I am not going to write a detailed trip report.  Instead, I will just post a series of photos from our adventure:

Group Photo at the Start of the Hike
Photo Credit:  Thomas "The Badger" Mabry

Team Waterfall hits the trail

Snake on the Trail

Here's Johnny!


Thumbs Up from the Badger - at the Brink of Windy Falls

Stephanie Leigh climbing down the rocks

Badger Hole

Luke shows how it is done

Josh in the Cave


Windy Falls
Badger Flop
Luke gets some Air!
Kitty (aka the Rock Sprite)
Stephanie Leigh at Windy Falls

Windy Falls - I like the sense of scale that my Team Waterfall Buddies add to this photo
Climbing a Hugh Boulder at Windy Falls

Spencer and Stephanie

Josh show how to relax at Windy Falls

Windy Falls
Photo Credit:  Thomas "The Badger" Mabry

At Windy Falls

Darrin being Darrin

Luke slides down Windy Falls

Stephanie Blue

Team Waterfall at the Base of Windy Falls

Just a simple flower to end an awesome day


The complete set of photos is posted here:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015-08-07 thru 2015-08-09 Franklin, NC Weekend

Amy's Parents 50th Anniversary Weekend
Franklin, NC
August 7th, 2015 - August 9th, 2015

Mountain High BBQ Festival, Pickens Nose, Mooney Falls, Big Laurel Falls, 
Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, Brasstown Falls

The entire gang on the front porch of the cabin we rented in Franklin, NC

For most men, entering a BBQ competition on the weekend of your 50th wedding anniversary is not a wise decision!  However, that is exactly what Amy's Dad did!

Therefore most Amy's Parent's 50th anniversary would be spent cooking BBQ at the Mountain High BBQ festival in Franklin, NC.   Amy's Mom was not too excited about this, but we decided to turn the weekend into a little family gathering to help celebrate the special occasion.

Amy and I arrived on Friday Morning to check in with the "No Time Soon" BBQ team!

Amy's Dad Chris of "No Time Soon" BBQ

From there I picked out some "Amy Approved" short hikes to Pickens Nose, Mooney Falls, and Big Laurel Falls.  We had planned to do these hikes during our last visit to Franklin back in January.  Unfortunately we learned that much of the area around Franklin turns into the "Land of the Locked Gates" during the winter season!

This time the gates were open and we had no problems getting to the Pickens Nose Trailhead!

Amy picking her nose at the Pickens Nose Trailhead

The hike to Pickens Nose is an easy 0.75 miles  (1.5 miles out and back).  The total elevation gain is only about 200-feet.  There are many side trails along the way, especially towards the end which lead to various viewpoints, the highlight being the main Pickens Nose rock outcrop!

Here are a few photos from our Pickens Nose Hike!

Me on Pickens Nose

Amy on Pickens Nose

view from Pickens Nose

Next up would be Mooney Falls.  A short and easy descent of about 0.2 miles via a series of switchbacks takes you to the base of this nice cascading waterfall.

 Mooney Falls

From there, we continued on to the Big Laurel Falls Trailhead (Note: some of the signs have dropped the Big and just call it Laurel Falls).

This hike is an easy 0.6 miles (1.2 miles round trip).  There are a few short ups and down, but overall the trail only gains about 100 feet of elevation.

Big Laurel Falls

By now it was time to work our way back to Franklin to see how things were going at the BBQ Festival.  Amy and I ended up taking Amy's Mom and Aunt Shirley out to dinner, while Amy's dad and Uncle Bill remained at the smoker.

"No Time Soon" at the Mountain High BBQ Festival
L to R:  Uncle Bill, Amy's Dad Chris, Amy's Mom Ruth, and Aunt Shirley

After dinner, Amy took me to the Lazy Hiker Brewery, another spot I wanted to visit but was unfortunately closed during our last visit to Franklin.

Me enjoying a flight at the Lazy Hiker Brewery

While I wouldn't classify any of the (5) beers I sampled as outstanding, they were all good and the atmosphere of the Lazy Hiker Brewery is hard to beat!

Saturday Morning I got up early to catch a sunrise.  There is an overlook along US64 about 10 miles West of Franklin which I thought would be a good spot for a sunrise.  I was right!

A sea of clouds shortly before sunrise

Morning Twilight

Fire in the Sky

 Sunrise through the Fog

After sunrise, I returned to see how the gang was doing at the BBQ competition.

No Time Soon at the Mountain High BBQ Festival

 The No Time Soon Mascot

Saturday morning is the busiest time for the BBQ cookers, so the best thing we could do to help is to just get out of the way.  Amy and I decided to lead Amy's sister and her family into Highlands for some kid and dog friendly hikes.

First up was Dry Falls

 Dry Falls

Group Shot at Dry Falls

Next up was Whiteside Mountain.

 Caroline and Amy hiking up Whiteside Mountain

Whiteside Mountain is normally a nice 2.5 mile loop hike with some spectacular views!  Unfortunately today there was a section of trail closed for maintenance, which meant that we could not do the whole loop.  Fortunately there were plenty of viewpoints still available as an out-and-back hike.

view from Whiteside Mountain

view from Whiteside Mountain

Amy's Sister and her family at Whiteside Mountain

 Amy and Me at Whiteside Mountain

After our hikes, we had a nice lunch in Highlands before working our way back to Franklin for the conclusion of the BBQ competition.

Unfortunately Amy's Dad did not win any awards, but he still had a good time.

For dinner I fixed up a big tray of Gluten Free Lasagna for the entire gang and we spent the rest of the evening celebrating Amy's Parents 50th Anniversary!

Sunday Morning we all departed Franklin and went our separate ways.  I decided to squeeze one more short hike in on the way home. 

Brasstown Falls in Oconee County, SC.  The hike is short (less than a mile round trip), but does require some steep scrambling to get to these (4) waterfalls.

Upper Brasstown Falls

Middle Brasstown Falls

Amy and Me at Lower Brasstown Falls

 Little Brasstown Falls

Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend getaway.
The complete set of photos is posted here: