Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18 – Waterfalls near Highlands, NC

There are a bunch of things to see over near Highlands and even though it is only about 25 miles it still takes about 45 minutes to get there. Gotta love these twisty roads.

We made a few more stops than we usually do but we figured we might as well do them all rather than having to drive back. We did two short hikes to waterfalls and them went to two other roadside falls.

The weather forecast for today was pretty dicey. It called for a large chance of severe thunderstorms around 1 pm. We managed to escape relatively unscathed. It was mostly sunny for the first hike. Afterwards, as we sat in the car, figuring out how to get to the second hike, it started raining. On the drive it just poured down and we almost turned around. When we arrived we were back in sunshine. We got a few sprinkles on the second hike but nothing to worry about. Driving to the roadside falls it rained on and off but not while were were out of the car. On the way home, there was some pretty hard rain and just as we neared home it came down in buckets. The wettest we got all day was the 5 yards from the car to the RV door. We got soaked.

Our first stop was the 2 mile return hike into Glen Falls. There are an upper, middle and lower falls. The trail stops at the top and bottom of the upper falls, and the bottom of the middle and lower falls. In between each lookout we loop back in the forest.


For the trailhead to the bottom is about a 600 foot drop. Which means a 600 foot climb to get back. The trail down to the middle falls was very well maintained but it had lots of steps. These pictures were taken on the way back but you get the idea.



Jennie jumped a bit when she saw this guy sunning itself on one of the steps.


You couldn’t see much from the first viewpoint at the top of the falls.



The view point at the bottom of the upper falls was built around these two trees.


But it was still somewhat obstructed.


Around we go.


The only problem was that I couldn’t get far enough away to get a good overall shot. It was very slippery out there.



My brother had asked me to try to get some shots of the waterfalls with the water blurred. To do it you need to take a long exposure, at least 1/2 second, so you really need a tripod. Of course I forgot it in the car. Here is an attempt using a rock to stabilize the camera.

First the normal exposure of 1/60.


Then at 1/2 a second. I like it.


Moving down to the bottom of the middle falls. The viewpoint was better.


But I still went around it. Another comparison shot.




Here I am trying to find a stable spot for the camera to take the long exposure, without getting too wet.


Jennie spotted a tiny salamander on a rock just under the surface of the water.



The blur works best of falls like these with a lot of individual streams.

Not many people got down to the lower falls. They are not very big and just one wide stream. The trail down was much worse. Narrow and very rooted.


More movement out of the corner of our eye caused us to jump.


There was a real jumble of logs around this one.


I wandered out in the mess but none of the pictures were worth keeping.


We headed back to the car. I suggested having lunch at one of the viewpoints. It was a good thing Jennie talked me out of it because, as I said, it started rain soon after we got back.

The view as we drove to the next trailhead. Sometimes it was hard to see the road.


The trailhead was out another twisty dirt road. It seemed to take forever to get there even though it was only 4 miles off the highway.

The trails to Picklesimer Rock House Falls was a very easy 1 miles out and back.


We saw one live lady slipper and a lot of dead ones.



Lots of Mountain Laurel.




The falls are actually just a dribble over a cliff but the huge cave behind it is quiet impressive.


This is another case where I should have had a tripod so I could use a smaller aperture and get the foreground and background in focus. I guess I will start taking it on these shorter hikes.




I climbed up to the top edge of the cave.


I wasn’t careful on the way down. I slipped and landed on my butt in the wet dirt. I had to use the waterfall to clean up.


You could get behind the final two waterfalls but there was no hiking involved as they were right beside the highway.

In fact you could drive behind Bridal Veil Falls. The pulloff from the highway goes right underneath.




You can walk behind Dry Falls on a very civilized path. The view from right beside the highway was not great.


You had to go down the short path.



I am not sure why they are called Dry Falls. It must have been opposite day. There was lots of spray behind the falls.



We headed home to get soaked getting into the RV. We have had rain, sun, thunder and lightning tonight. Right now it sounds like a long term rain but the forecast for tomorrow is good.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures of the waterfalls and the spring flowers!!!