Friday, February 24, 2017

2017-02-23 Little Bradley and Big Bradley Falls

Matt, Meet the Bradleys!
Little Bradley Falls and Big Bradley Falls
Polk County, NC
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Matt at the Middle Drop of Little Bradley Falls

My Team Waterfall Buddy Matt was in town for the annual CNPA Convention (Carolina Nature Photographers Association).  He had some free time on Thursday, so I took the afternoon off from work to show him some of my favorite local waterfalls.

Big Bradley and Little Bradley Falls are located right off of I-26 about 30 minutes north of Spartanburg, making them a great destination for an afternoon hike!

We started out with Little Bradley which is about a one mile (two mile out and back) easy hike.  Normally this hike requires getting your feet wet.  However with the ongoing drought, the water levels were low enough to easily rock hop all of the creek crossings!

Little Bradley Falls is one of my favorites!  I actually prefer Little Bradley over Big Bradley.  It is one of the more photogenic waterfalls around and there are virtually unlimited photo angles and compositions you can create with this waterfall!

Little Bradley Falls

Little Bradley Falls

 The Upper Drop of Little Bradley Falls

The only downside to Little Bradley is that it is located just a stone's throw downstream from I-26.  Therefore a lot of road trash tends to gather at the base!  

Next up was Big Bradley Falls.  We started out with the easy hike to the overlook area.

 Matt photographing Big Bradley from the Overlook area
 Tragic Note about this photo:   On February 12th, 2017 two young girls 
watched their father fall to his death from this exact spot!
Be careful out there! 

I never really liked the view from the overlook area, so we decided to head to the base.  Getting to the base of Big Bradley is not an easy task!  Most of the climb is extremely steep, and one section requires a rope climb down a 20 foot ledge!

Matt climbing the rope down to the base of Big Bradley
 
 Me at Big Bradley Falls
Some rare February Temps in the high 70s made the water quite refreshing!

Big Bradley Falls

 Big Bradley Falls

 Big Bradley Falls


We had also discussed hitting Fungi Falls, but we didn't have quite enough time left to do it justice.  So instead we took our time photographing Big Bradley and also stopped at a scenic section of Cove Creek to photograph what I call Mini Bradley Falls!

 Mini Bradley Falls


In addition to the waterfalls, we also saw an assortment of early spring wildflowers including several varieties of Hepatica, Chickweed, Toadshade Trillium, Periwinkle, and a field of yellow DaffyDills

 Toadshade Trillium

It was a very enjoyable afternoon!
Next time Matt makes it over this way, I will introduce him to the rest of the Bradleys!

My complete set of photos is posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/sets/72157678471636242

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