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:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

2019-04-13 Birthday/Anniversary weekend to Virginia

Blue Ridge Virginia Weekend
Thursday, April 11th through Sunday April 14th, 2019

Group Photo at Virginia Mountain Vineyards
L to R:  Dad, Mom, Scott, Mary, Me, Amy, Conner, Katie

For our Anniversary and my Birthday weekend, Amy and I planned a little weekend getaway.  We found a large house on Airbnb that really intrigued us.  This entire 4,400 square foot home was not much more than a typical hotel room in the area.  And there was plenty of room to accommodate my entire side of the family! 

 Our Airbnb rental house in Blue Ridge, VA

Along the way, Amy and I spent a few hours in Blacksburg, VA to visit my Alma Mater, Virginia Tech!  I always enjoy getting back and walking around campus to see all that has changed since I graduated almost 30 years ago!

At the Virginia Tech Athletic Center / VT Sports Museum

Me with the Hokie Bird

Burruss Hall - Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech April 16th Memorial

Memorial Hokie Stone for a lost friend!

Norris Hall - The location of the April 16th Massacre

Torgersen Hall - One of the Many new buildings on Campus
named after the late Paul Torgersen, my favorite professor and faculty advisor at Virginia Tech

After a nice visit to Virginia Tech and a tasty lunch in downtown Blacksburg, we continued on to our rental house.  My parents arrived shortly after and we headed on over to the new Ballast Point Brewery for some beer and dinner!  
Me with my Mom and Dad at the Ballast Point Brewery

The Ballast Point Brewery

Enjoying some brews with my Dad!

Blue Ridge Sunset from the Ballast Point Brewery

Since our rental house was located less than a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway and about 5 miles from the Appalachian Trail, I decided to get a little hike in on Friday Morning.

 along the Blue Ridge Parkway

 view from the Blue Ridge Parkway
(I was hoping for a sunrise!)

 view from the Blue Ridge Parkway

view from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Along the Appalachian Trail

Leaving my mark in the Wilson Creek Appalachian Trail log book!

I did about 6 miles (3 miles each way) from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Wilson Creek Shelter and back.

My sister and her family arrived later that day we had a very enjoyable rest of the weekend together! 

My sister Mary and her husband Scott

 The upstairs family room of the rental house

 View from near the rental house

Downstairs family room / wet bar 

Unfinished side of the lower level with a Gym and Sauna

Not sure the purpose of this hallway, but it made for a good place to hang movie posters!

 Pool table

 Interesting artwork

Our rental house

 Katie, Conner, and Mary in the Hot Tub

 Sunset view from near the rental house

 Jack and Amy Selfie outside the Rental House

My complete set of photos is posted here: