Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018-11-23 Black Friday Team Waterfall Adventure

Team Waterfall Black Friday Adventure
Morning scenes around the Lake Lure Marina,
 Rumbling Bald Cave with Captain John, 
Hickory Nut Falls from across the Gorge, 
Flamboyant Falls and Rainbow Falls
Rutherford County, NC
Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Team Waterfall Group Selfie by The Badger
(photo by Thomas Mabry)

In the United States, Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year.  Just about every retail business offers up some incredible sales attracting hoards of crowds to every shopping center across America!

However, there is a small percentage of the population that prefer to celebrate the Black Friday holiday by going hiking!  We call ourselves "Team Waterfall"!

There was a Team Waterfall adventure planned for Friday Afternoon, but since I like to get a much earlier start, I suggested a morning hike for any other early risers.  Captain John was the only one interested so we decided to explore the caves of Rumbling Bald Mountain.

While waiting for John to arrive, I enjoyed a nice morning stroll around the Lake Lure Marina area!

 Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

 Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

Once John arrived, we headed over to the Rumbling Bald to explore the caves!

 Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

 Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

 view from the Attic Window

 Captain John outside the Attic Window

Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

After our cave exploration, John and I met up with the rest of the group and headed over to Chimney Rock Village where we would begin our main adventure of the day!

Rainbow Falls is part of the recent Chimney Rock State Park expansion.  However, it is very difficult to get to without going through private property.  Fortunately Andy had a plan!

The first part of the hike offered up some really nice views across the gorge of Hickory Nut Falls!  Some pops of late season fall color was an added bonus!

Hickory Nut Falls

 Chimney Rock State Park

Hickory Nut Falls

We continued on up the mountain until we were within earshot of the un-named stream that Rainbow Falls is located on.  The topo map showed potential for additional drops downstream, so we decided to head towards the creek.

We were rewarded with a beauty of a waterfall that none of us had ever been to or was even aware of.  We are calling this one Flamboyant Falls!

 Flamboyant Falls

 The Professor at Flamboyant Falls

 Flamboyant Falls

Spencer at the Top of Flamboyant Falls

Note:  at the time, we thought we were still inside the State Park Boundary, but I believe Flamboyant Falls is located on private property.  We did not come across any no tresspassing signs or property boundary markers.

Continuing on up, we came across some impressive boulder fields which some of us took time to explore!

Carlos on the Rocks!

Me taking a shortcut through the rocks!
(photo by Jill Cash)

Jill checking out the rock cave

 Carlos and the Professor

Eventually we arrived at the spectacular Rainbow Falls!

 Rainbow Falls

 The Badger and Spencer at Rainbow Falls

 Selfie with The Badger at Rainbow Falls

Cameron at Rainbow Falls

After a nice long break at Rainbow Falls it was time to either head back or continue on!

How do we plan to get from here to there?

About half the group decided to continue on up the mountain, while the rest of us decided to head on back.  I wasn't in the mood to be hiking after dark and I had a college football game I wanted to get home to, so I went with the group that decided to head on back!

Christy and The Badger heading down from Rainbow Falls

Andy and I did decided to check out another short section of stream between Rainbow and Flamboyant Falls and found a few smaller waterfalls and cascades.

For the final stretch of the hike, we enjoyed some additional views of Hickory Nut Falls and ended the day at a small carnival in Chimney Rock Village!

 Back on Pavement

Badger Selfie

 Me after the hike at Chimney Rock Village

This was the perfect way for me to celebrate Black Friday!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

2018-11-17 The Waterfalls of Fall Creek

The Waterfalls of Fall Creek
with Spencer and Scott
Andrew Ramey Falls, Fall Creek Falls, Pristine Falls, Raines Mill Falls
Oconee County, SC
Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Group Photo at Pristine Falls
L to R:  Scott, Spencer, Me

Spencer, Scott (aka The Professor), and I decided to head to Oconee County to explore Fall Creek and it's tributaries.  I arrived at the trailhead about a half hour early so I headed down to capture the first two drops before the sun rose above the ridge.

 Upper Andrew Ramey Falls

Andrew Ramey Falls

Scott arrived right on time, but Spencer was running about an hour late and said he would catch up with us along the way!

There are a few other smaller drops just downstream from Andrew Ramey Falls, but none of them are overly photogenic. 

Rhodo Falls

There is no official blazed trail alongside Fall Creek, but there is enough of an established path that most people should have no problem continuing on downstream.

About a mile further downstream is the spectacular Fall Creek Falls!  Scott and I stopped at the top for a few photo before continuing on to the base.

Nice cascades near the Top of Fall Creek Falls

The Professor at the top of Fall Creek Falls

The Professor at the top of Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls

 Fall Creek Falls

 Fall Creek Falls

After Scott and I were just about to move on, Spencer shows up at the top!

Spencer at the top of Fall Creek Falls

The three of us continued on downstream to Final Falls, which is the final drop of Fall Creek as it joins up with the Chattooga River!

Spencer at Final Falls on Fall Creek

Final Falls on Fall Creek joins the Chattooga River

 Spencer at Final Falls on Fall Creek

The Chattooga River

From the Chattooga River, we backtracked a little bit stopping to take a few photos of a snake and Side Pocket Falls!

 A late season Snake Sighting!

The Professor by Side Pocket Falls

On the way back, we headed up the main branch of Fall Creek to the spectacular Pristine Falls!  It is amazing that this one stayed under the radar for so many years because it is a beauty!

Pristine Falls on Fall Creek

Scott at Pristine Falls

Spencer at Pristine Falls

Upstream from Pristine Falls is another drop called Little Falls Creek Falls.

Little Fall Creek Falls

We finished up our day with the three drops at Raines Mill.

Lower Raines Mill Falls

 Middle Raines Mill Falls

Upper Raines Mill Falls

Note: Raines Mill is private property!  If you visit, please respect the property and don't do anything that would make the owners change their mind about allowing public access!

We finished up the hike with a short road walk back to our vehicles!  Here is the GPS track from our adventure!  I highly recommend this hike!    

It was an awesome day of Waterfall Wandering! 

My complete set of photos is posted here: