Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016-03-26 An Afternoon at the In-Laws

An Afternoon at the In-Laws
Rutherfordton, NC
Saturday, March 26th, 2016
After our morning hike to Little Bradley Falls, Hugh and I continued on the Rutherfordton to meet the rest of the gang for lunch and to spend the afternoon at our In-Laws in Rutherfordton, NC.

Amy with our Nieces

 Amy's Sister Jenny with Smores

 Amy's Dad showing off his latest project

 Amy and her parents

 Amy's parents

 Smores enjoying some time off the leash

Caroline and Smores


 Caroline and Smores


Jenny and Hugh


Grace and Hugh

It was a very enjoyable afternoon!

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Monday, March 28, 2016

2016-03-26 Little Bradley Falls

Little Bradley Falls
with Hugh and Smores
Polk County, NC
Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Me, Hugh, and Smores at Little Bradley Falls

This weekend Amy’s sister Jenny and her family came down for a visit.   My brother-in-law Hugh and I elected to pass on the trip to the hospital to visit Grandma (she had a minor fall, but when you are going on 96 years old, it does not take much to send you to the hospital!)

Instead, Hugh and I took Smores for a short little hike to Little Bradley Falls.

Almost immediately we ran across two new friends for Smores

 Smores meets a new Friend

They had collars and look well fed, but there were no signs of any owners.  They stayed with us the entire 1.2 mile hike to Little Bradley Falls .  One thing we learned on this hike is that Smores is deathly afraid of creeks.  Which made all the creek crossings a bit more of a challenge for Hugh!

 Hugh, Smores, and our two new friends getting ready to cross the creek

This guy had no problems with the creek crossings!

Little Bradley Falls is not the tallest or most powerful around, but it my opinion it is one of prettiest and most photogenic in the area!

 Little Bradley Falls

Little Bradley Falls

 Hugh and Smores at Little Bradley Falls

 Little Bradley Falls

On the return hike, I took a bit of time to photograph some of the abundant wildflowers blooming along the trail.  I also enjoyed laughing at Hugh's feeble attempts to get Smores to cross the creeks on her own!
Jack-in-The Pulpit and Toadshade Trillium

Fleabane Daisy



Hugh and Smores Crossing the Creek



The hike to Little Bradley Falls was was much more enjoyable than a hospital visit, and with her Great Grand Children around, I am sure Grandma did not miss Hugh and I!

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016-03-25 Bearcamp Falls

Bearcamp Falls (aka Hilliard Falls)
Transylvania County, NC
with Brenda and Beth
Friday, March 25th, 2016

 Group Photo at Bearcamp Falls (L to R:  Me, Brenda, Beth)

Since we share a love for waterfalls, I have been friends on Facebook with Beth Bradshaw for a while now.   I have been following along as she works her way through the Carolina Mountain Club 100 Waterfall Challenge.  However, I have never met her in person until now!

Since Good Friday is a holiday at my company I was able to join Beth and Brenda to knock off #97 out of 100 on Beth's WC100 List.  At about 12 miles round trip, Bearcamp Falls (aka Hilliard Falls) is the longest hike on the CMC WC100 List.

Yellow Bells (aka Forsythia) in full bloom at the Lake Jocassee Overlook
(note: the overlook view was fogged in)

We started out at the Duke Energy Bad Creek parking area for the Foothills Trail.  There are very few level sections of the Foothills Trail and this section was no exception.

It started out mostly downhill to the crossing of the Whitewater River.

 Brenda and Beth Crossing the Whitewater River

Then up and over a ridge back down to the Thompson River.  

 The Thompson River

 Brenda and Beth Crossing The Thompson River

Then up and over another ridge before working our way down to Bearcamp Creek.

It would have been nice to have a few more clouds in the sky, but other than that I was quite impressed with Bearcamp Falls!

 Bearcamp Falls

This one gives a better sense of scale!
Beth photographing Brenda at Bearcamp Falls

Since my natural hiking pace is a bit faster than Beth and Brenda's I was able to get a little creative with my photography on the hike back.  Get a few minutes ahead and then stop and try to create something interesting while I wait for the other to catch up!

Recently almost all of my adventures have involved off trail bushwhacking gaining me the nickname "Bushwhack Jack".  It was a welcome change to hike 12 miles on an actual trail!.

It was a beautiful day for a hike!  Brenda is always a delight and it was a pleasure to meet Beth in person for the first time and to be part of her CMC 100 Waterfall Challenge!

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2016-03-19 Rocky Bottom Creek

The Waterfalls of Rocky Bottom Creek
Another Team Waterfall Adventure
Pickens County, SC
Saturday, March 19th, 2016

On Saturday, I joined a large group of my Team Waterfall friends on an off trail adventure to the headwaters of Rocky Bottom Creek.   Between Andy and Brenda, Team Waterfall has discovered at least (7) significant waterfalls along this creek over the past few months.

I got an early start on the day, so I decided to make a few stops along the way.

Peach Orchard in Bloom at the base of Hogback Mountain

 Table Rock State Park, SC

 Table Rock Reflections

We started the main part of our day from the summit of Sassafras Mountain (the highest spot in South Carolina).  There would be (9) of us plus (3) dogs along for this hike.  (Brenda, Andy, Darrin, Mitch, Dillon, Lauren, Michael, Spencer, Me, Blizzy, Boone, and Kona).

The Foothills Trail crosses over Sassafras Mountain, but there would be no trails where we were headed.  A series of overgrown logging roads took us most of the way, but once we were within earshot of the creek it was a complete bushwhack.

We started out along the Eastern Tributary.  Our first stop was Windhover Falls, recently discovered by Brenda and named after her close friend who recently passed away.  My photos definitely do not do this one justice!

 Lower Windhover Falls

Upper Windhover Falls

A few hundred yards downstream from Windhover Falls is Abby's Falls

Dillon and Darrin at Abby's Falls

Upper Abby's Falls

Immediately downstream from Abby's Falls, the Eastern and Western Tributaries come together.  Confluence Falls is on the Western Tributary right at the confluence.

Continuing downstream the next major drop is what Andy has named Firefly Falls.

 Spencer at the Upper Drop of Firefly Falls

Michael above the Middle Drop of Firefly Falls

Firefly Falls

Brenda at Firefly Falls

There are still at least 3 or 4 more waterfalls downstream, and about half the team was planning to continue on.  Brenda, Darrin, Mitch, and I decided that we would turn around at this point.  We went up the Western Tributary on the way back for a ways and did notice any more significant drops upstream from the confluence.

Here is the GPS track from our adventure.

GPS Track

After the hike, I took one more obligatory photo from the Sassafras Mountain Overlook.
view from the Sassafras Mountain Overlook

The forecast for the day was a 90% chance of rain.  It turned out to be mostly sunny without a drop of rain!  it was a beautiful day to be outside!

The complete set of photos is posted here: