Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3 – Waterfalls and Outlooks

It was another beautiful, sunny day but we were in no mood for a long hike. We did a looping drive to two waterfalls and many lookouts. Each destination was close to the highway but it turns out that close and easy are not the same thing.

Our first destination was Mingo Falls. Our legs are still sore and the 150+ steps to get to it were a struggle.


The falls are 150 feet tall so they are much larger than any we have seen yet. The problem was that you couldn’t get right up close to them.  You had to look from a bridge that crossed the creek. In person they looked very impressive but the photos just don’t capture it.


One guy even braved the slippery rocks and logs to get closer but it still doesn’t show the size very well.



You will just have to go yourself.

Next was Mingus Mill. It is a restored corn grist mill. We are not usually interested in these things but it was close by.


The water comes in a channel from a creek.


They are cheating because the water doesn’t actually enter the mill. It just dumps off the back where it is hard to see.


Inside I am pretty sure they had an electric motor turning the wheel.


We didn’t stay long.

Since we passed by the visitor’s center I stopped in to ask about a trail we were thinking over doing. The Boogerman Trail is a 7 mile loop that has about 7 stream crossings. I had read in several blogs, even ones from late last year, that a few of the log bridges were out and that you had to wade across the creek, sometimes up to your knees. On our earlier visit to the center I had asked the ranger about the trail and she said she didn’t know of any problems. This time I explicitly asked about the bridges. The ranger didn’t know but he went in the back to call someone. Sure enough they were still out. It is a long drive to the trailhead so it would have been very disappointing because we are not prepared for and do not do wading.

Next up was driving on the a bit of the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The southern terminus is the Newfound Gap road that bisects the park. It quickly climbs to give you lots of long distance views from a huge number of lookouts. There almost seemed to be one every mile or two.

It is a very twisty road that is another favourite of motorcycles and sports cars.




So many of the trees have been killed that the hills mainly look brown.



There were a few patches of colour.


From one of the lookouts we could see our next destination which is on a small detour just off the parkway.


Soco Falls is literally right beside the highway but the climb down is very steep. The path to the lookout platform was not too bad.


This view was not going to do it so we took the very rough path down to the bottom. This is Jennie climbing up after we were done. You really did need those ropes.




There are really two falls here as two creeks join together.



It was a really beautiful place. As usual the pictures just didn’t capture it. We stood and stared for a long time.

By now it was about 2 pm. We had had a late breakfast so it was time for lunch. We just picked the next lookout with a good view, back on the Parkway.


We were trying to figure out what this odd shape was, way off in the distance, in the the middle of the forest. I think it is the giant casino on the Cherokee reservation.


Our final sightseeing stop was Waterrock Knob. There is a large parking lot and a small visitor’s center. In hindsight we should have had lunch here. There were some nice picnic tables with great views.

We started on the 1/2 mile trail to the top of the knob.


The trail was really steep. The top is 400 vertical feet above the parking lot. After 2/10ths of a mile we got to a small observation platform.


By now we were quite tired. The view was mostly obstructed. Jennie decided that she had had enough so she went back to the car. I decided to plod my way to the top.

Jennie would not have enjoyed the tall and uneven steps.


But the view was pretty good.



I wasn’t sure what was in the open area on that hill in the distance.


Maybe a slide ride or a mountain bike trail.


More &^$%^ steps.


The view at the top was far from 360. I had a good view in one direction.


I couldn’t figure out why Jennie didn’t wave back to me.


Maybe this is why. Here is the non zoomed in view.


Heading back down to the parking lot. Still didn’t get a wave.


We continued on the Parkway until the next exit and completed a loop on the highways back to home. Along the way there happened to be a Walmart so we did a not so short pit stop.

1 comment:

  1. For not being in mood for a long hike you guys sure did quite a bit today!!!!! Nice pics of the falls!!!