Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019-05-05 Yucca Falls and Rachael Creek Falls

Dillon's Birthday Adventure to
Yucca Falls and Rachael Creek Falls
Just outside of Table Rock State Park
Pickens County, SC
Sunday, May 5th, 2019

Group photo behind Upper Yucca Falls
L to R:  Dillon, Scott (aka the Professor), Johnny, Me

Scott (aka the Professor), Johnny, Dillon, Blizzy, and I got together to Celebrate Dillon's 26th trip around the sun with a little waterfall adventure to Yucca Falls and Rachel Creek Falls.

Here is the GPS track from our adventure. 

This route starts from Hwy 11 and stays entirely on public (SCDNR) lands.  An alternate longer route is to start from Table Rock State Park and take the Palmetto Trail west to end up at the same spot.   If you try to follow Rachael Creek upstream from Hwy11, you will be trespassing!

The waterfalls are located entirely off trail.  Once you leave the Palmetto Trail, the hike becomes a bushwhack, scramble, butt slide, creek walk, rhododendron crawl, etc!  Do not attempt this hike if you are not experience in off trail exploring!  I would also recommend sticking to Sundays, especially during deer season, as this is an active hunting area!

Here are some of the photos from our adventure!

Upper Yucca Falls

Blizzy at Upper Yucca Falls

Yucca Falls

 Dillon and Blizzy at Yucca Falls

The Professor climbing down Rachael Creek Falls

Dillon and Blizzy on a log!
They both have much better balance than me!

 Upper Rachael Creek Falls

Blizzy at Upper Rachael Creek Falls

The Professor at Upper Rachael Creek Falls

Group Selfie at Upper Rachael Creek Falls

We had a little bit of rain starting out, and then a period of full sun as we were trying to photograph Rachael Creek Falls!  Other than that, we had perfect weather for this type of adventure!

It was a great day to be outdoors and to celebrate Dillon's 26th Birthday doing what we all love to do!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

2019-04-27 Linville Gorge Adventure

Linville Gorge Adventure Along the Crystal Trail
with Matt, Lianne, and Geoff
And a visit to Yellow Fork Falls
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
Burke County, North Carolina 
Saturday April 27th, 2019

Linville Gorge Panorama

This past  Saturday I was invited to join Matt Perry, Lianne Pierrard, and Lianne's boyfriend Geoff for a Linville Gorge "hike" along the Crystal "Trail".  I have never even heard of this "trail" but I am always eager to join in on a Linville Gorge scrambling adventure!

Since the group wasn't meeting until 11:00am, I had plenty of time to do the short hike to Yellow Fork Falls (aka Paddy's Creek Falls) prior to meeting the others.

Yellow Fork Falls (aka Paddy's Creek Falls) is one of my favorite Gorge Area Waterfalls and it has been about 5 years since my last visit.

Yellow Fork Falls (aka Paddy's Creek Falls) 

Yellow Fork Falls (aka Paddy's Creek Falls)

 Yellow Fork Falls Selfie

Yellow Fork Falls (aka Paddy's Creek Falls)

The trail to Yellow Fork Falls is a little over a mile each way (about 2.5 miles out and back).  It is not an official trail so it is not blazed, there is no trailhead sign, and it does not show up on most maps.  However, most of it is easy to follow.  It descends about 700 feet of elevation which makes the climb out is a bit of a workout!

Here is the GPS track from my hike to Yellow Fork Falls!

After my hike to Yellow Fork Falls, I met up with the others to begin our hike along the Crystal "trail". 

The Crystal Trail is an unofficial scramble path that connects the Pinch-in and Dobson Trails.  Again there are no blazes or signs and the "trail" does not show up on any maps that I have seen.   

We decided to do the hike as a short shuttle starting from the Pinch-in and heading south towards Dobson!

Here is our GPS Track:

This hike is absolutely incredible, far exceeding our expectations!  Here are some of the photos from our hike (in order starting North to South):

Lianne, Matt, and Geoff hiking down the Pinch-In Trail

The first of many low flow waterfalls along the Crystal Trail

Crystals along the Crystal Trail

Another Low Flow Waterfall along the Crystal Trail

along the Crystal Trail

Along the Crystal Trail

Geoff along the Crystal Trail

Beware of the Devil's Walking Stick

view from the Crystal Trail

The waterfalls just keep on coming along the Crystal Trail

Geoff along the Crystal Trail

view from the Crystal Trail

Lianne along the Crystal Trail

Along the Crystal Trail

Matt and Geoff along the Crystal Trail

view from the Crystal Trail

Matt along the Crystal Trail

Lianne and Geoff soaking in the views!

Another low flow waterfall along the crystal trail

Cave Sparrow Nest

Interesting Bird and Egg along the Crystal Trail

Tree Hugger Matt

Hiking along Dobson Cliffs

view from Dobson Cliffs

Geoff on Dobson Cliffs

Roadside view on the drive out of the Gorge

The perfect ending to an awesome day in the Gorge!

Thanks Matt for inviting me along on this Adventure!  And it was great to Meet Lianne and Geoff for the first time!

My complete set of photos is posted here:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

2019-04-20 Oconee County Waterfall Adventure

Oconee County Waterfall Adventure
Sid's Falls, Maxie Duke Falls, Sparkle Falls,
Moonshine Falls, and Limestone Falls
with Jenni, Kyle, Angelina, and Ziggy
Saturday, April 20th, 2019

Group Photo at Maxie Duke Falls
L to R:  Kyle, Me, Jenni, Angelina 
and Ziggy in front

I have lived in South Carolina for 20 years now, and somehow a visit to Sid's and Maxie Duke Falls has managed to escape me!  Jenni volunteer to lead to way to help me remedy this situation!  Also joining us would be Kyle, Angelina, and their fur baby Ziggy!

A major storm system brought a deluge of rain to the area filling up the creeks.  It also brought a little bit of a Blackberry Winter with morning temperatures in the 30s.  I got a message from Kyle that they were running late, so Jenni and I decided to get started without them as we were both ready to get the blood moving!

We started out with Sid's Falls, which in my opinion is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Carolina's!  And even more so with high flow like we had today!

Jenni and Me at Sid's Falls

 Sid's Falls

 Sid's Falls

Sid's Falls

After Sid's Falls, we started the steep climb back out.  Just as I was getting ready to leave Kyle and Angelina a note as to which way were were heading, Ziggy came by to great us!  Kyle and Angelina followed soon after and we continued on down to Maxie Duke Falls!

 Maxie Duke Falls

Kyle at Maxie Duke Falls

Next on our agenda would be Sparkle Falls which would be a new one for all of us!  We decided to bushwhack/creekwalk downstream from Maxie Duke.  We ran across a few other smaller cascades along the way!

 Cascade downstream from Maxie Duke Falls

Even with heavy flow, we had no problems reaching the confluence with Sawhead Branch and followed that upstream to Sparkle Falls.  This one exceeded all of our expectations!

Sparkle Falls on Sawhead Brach

Group Photo at Sparkle Falls

From Sparkle Falls, we continued upstream.

Jenni, Angelina, and Ziggy creek walking upstream on Sawhead Branch

We had hoped to reach the confluence of Shoulder Bone Branch, but the stream started getting choked in with growth.  In hindsight, we probably should have stuck with the creek walk, but instead we chose to bushwhack from here back the to Sid's Fall trail which turned out to be the most difficult part of our adventure by far!

Kyle and Angelia!  At this point, that log was "the trail"

 Ziggy at Sid's Falls

Kyle and Ziggy at Sid's Falls

Angelina and Ziggy at Sid's Falls

Ziggy at Sid's Falls

Here are a few more photos from the hike back and the GPS Track from the first half of our day!

 Kyle, Angelina, and Ziggy hiking the Forest Service road back from Sid's Falls

Jenni hiking by some Dogwood Blooms

There was still plenty of time left in the day for a few more waterfalls, so we decided to head on over to Moonshine Falls  (not to be confused with the more well known Greenville County Moonshine Falls).

I had never heard of this one until Jenni messaged me about it earlier in the week.  It is located on an unnamed tributary of the Chauga River!

Kyle by "Upper Moonshine Falls"  
Thankfully the main drop downstream proved to be  much more impressive!

Moonshine Falls

 Kyle and Ziggy at Moonshine Falls

Moonshine Falls

 Moonshine Falls

 Picture in Picture!
Angelina taking a photo of Kyle at Moonshine Falls

The lower drop of Moonshine Falls turned out to be nicer than expected, but this one really needs some good flow.  During normal conditions, I would expect this one to be just a trickle!

After Moonshine Falls, we had time for one more short waterfall hike, so we finished up our day at Limestone Falls.  The rain had started falling again, and my tripod decided to quit on my, so I didn't take a whole lot of photos.   

 A forest full of Trillium on the way to Limestone Falls

Limestone Falls

Since Limestone Falls is on Private Property, I am not going to post the GPS track.  We did not run into any no trespassing signs, but that can change at any time!

I had an great day out in the woods with Jenni, Kyle, and Angelina!  My complete set of photos is posted here: