Thursday, May 19, 2016

2016-05-14 Team Waterfall Adventure

August Cave, Pathertail, the Devils Elbow,  and the Mighty Tuck!
A Team Waterfall Adventure
In and Around Pathertown Valley
Transylvania and Jackson County, NC
Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Badger Team Waterfall Group Selfie to start the day
Photograph by Thomas "The Badger" Mabry

For Saturday's Team Waterfall Gathering, Josh planned a 2-part Adventure starting with the exploration of August Cave.

August Cave is relatively unknown and we have been asked to keep it that way by not divulging it's location.  It is far from any trail and requires a steep uphill bushwhack to get to.  It is highly unlikely that anyone is just going to stumble across it.

I have a slight bit a claustrophobia, so caves are not really my thing.  However every once in a while I like to push beyond my comfort zone to experience something new.  This was one of those times!
Me inside August Cave - Photo by Thomas "The Badger" Mabry

Andy climbing through August Cave

Thomas "The Badger" Mabry and Scott "The Professor" Burns inside August Cave

Next on the agenda would be a climb up Panthertail Mountain via a route that quite possibly no other humans have ever taken!  At times I had serious doubts about being able to make it up and around the shear cliff face of the Panthertail.

Scott admiring the overhanging cliffs of The Panthertail

However we persevered and found a safe route around every obstacle aided by the fact that each hurdle we overcame made the thought of being turned back less and less appealing!

Andy taking a shower at Four Foot Falls

It took us about 3 hours to travel about a half mile, but eventually we made it to the summit of Panthertail Mountain.  Although it does not show up on most maps, there is actually a trail near the summit.  It certainly was a relief to be hiking on an actual trail for a while!

From here, some of the group wanted to wait for Spencer and Stephanie (who started several hours behind us) and explore some more of the cliffs and views from Panthertown Mountain.  While others wanted to continue on with the original plan for the day.  So we decided to split into two smaller groups.

Awesome view from Panthertail Mountain
Note:  the group that met up with Spencer and Stephanie and further explored the Panthertail Cliffs found some even better views!

I continued on with Josh, Wally, Stan, Darrin, Bob, and Thomas.  We were already well behind schedule so we decided to skip the climb to High Bethel on Cold Mountain.  Instead we took the shortest and most direct route to the Devil's Elbow, a faint footpath over Shelton Pisgah Mountain.

Shortly before arriving at the Devil's Elbow we were treated to another nice view.

 view from the trail to the Devil's Elbow!

Once at Devil's Elbow, we had a decision to make.  Our remaining group of seven, split again into five and two.  Thomas and Bob decided to skip the steep bushwhack and river walk and instead elected to stick to the trail and wait for us at Jawbone Falls.

The remainder of us took an extremely steep bushwhack / butt slide down the north side of Devil's Elbow about 500 feet straight down to the Tuckasegee River!

It had been several hours since we last saw water and we were all dying of thirst!  All I have to say is "Thank God For Life Straw!"  (The official water filtration system of Team Waterfall).

Thank God For Life Straw - Darrin and the Mighty Tuck

The next part of our journey would be a river walk through the Mighty Tuck stopping at one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Panthertown Valley.  Lichen Falls!

 Me, Darrin, Josh, Stan
and Wally
at Lichen Falls

We continued our river walk through the Tuckasegee River for about a half mile navigating our way past a variety of obstacles including Red Butt Falls.  Darrin decided that Red Butt was definitely one that he could slide down!

 Darrin sliding down Red Butt Falls

Shortly past Red Butt, we left the river and got on an actual trail where we ran into Spencer, Stephanie, Andy, and Scott.

Stephanie, Spencer, and Andy

Scott decided to join up with us, while Spencer, Stephanie, and Andy were heading on down to Lichen Falls.

Our next stop was Elbow Falls

 Elbow Falls

Next up would be Jawbone Falls where we met back up with Thomas and Bob who were enjoying a nice bit of R and R.

Bob relaxing on the sandy beach by Jawbone Falls

 Jawbone Falls

Ever since Darrin "The Salmon" Hamlin first saw a photo of Jawbone Falls, he was determined to slide down this one.  So that is what he did!

Darrin "The Salmon" Hamlin sliding down Jawbone Falls

The rest of the hike back to the parking area was all on well established wide track trails.  Even though it was just about all uphill it was rather easy and uneventful compared to what we've been through all day long!

Darrin, Bob, Scott, Spencer, and Stephanie would join Andy and I at our campsite alongside Greenland Creek making for a very enjoyable evening.

 Hanging Out Around the Campfire

The next morning Bob, Darrin, and I did the short hike to Greenland Creek Falls before packing up our stuff and heading our separate ways.

 Darrin and Bob at Greenland Creek Falls

It was a very enjoyable Weekend!

The complete set of Photos is posted here:
and if you missed them, Friday's shots are posted here:

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