The hunt for Wintergreen Falls

Lisa and I

14 miles

8/6/18

We are on the hunt for Wintergreen Falls. It is in Gorges State Park. We have been here before and not been able to find what we are looking for. They have a couple of well defined trails the rest of the land is undeveloped. It’s a shame because the Toxaway River is amazing but there is very little access to it.

Directions say to find Frozen Creek road and it will turn into Auger Hole Rd. Then we are to get on road 1260? Well it doesn’t. We find the Frozen Creek Rd access to Gorges state park and look at the map. It shows Auger Hole trail. We finally determine Auger Hole Trail and road are the same. It was a road and they closed its access to vehicles and called it a trail.

We finally decide to head down Augur trail for 3 miles. It’s a well defined gravel road so it’s pretty easy walking. It really appears that no one else has used this road. We can tell by the way we look like mighty ninjas karate chopping all these huge spider webs we keep walking into. This went on for quite a while until we finally got smart and started waving a stick in front of us!

Almost all 5 miles of this hike we can hear rushing water or waterfalls on the Toxaway river. There is no way to get near it or even see water!

About 3 miles down we come to a fork in the road and what do we see? Road 1260 that were on the directions but is closed to vehicles. We turn right and head down Wintergreen Trail. This is very promising since we are looking for Wintergreen Falls.

We take this road armed with our spider sticks and walk about a mile to where it dead ends at a real campsite along the river.

We wonder do we cross the river? There doesn’t seam to be a trail over there. We sit and I eat and lisa goes forward to see if she can find the trail. I re-read the directions and when she gets back decide that’s where we go. It’s pretty dense. If we stay along the river we shouldn’t get lost. She thinks it’s a trail. I think it’s just where nothing is growing. If we were 3 ft tall we would still have to duck under branches.! I kept thinking snakes can climb trees too! It’s wet, dark and very humid.

If you look real close you can see her in there. This is called bushwhacking!

I followed her for another mile and a half. We can hear the Falls but are way above the river. We can’t find a way to get down to it. She is bound and determined to find it. The only thing in her way is me. I told her i would wait while she goes. I was hoping she wouldn’t take me up on it because I don’t like to be in the woods alone! We have been hiking for over 4 hours and bushwhacking at least an hour. I’m really struggling at this point. I want to turn around. After a while I gave up. I felt like a looser for sure. I hate I disappointed her but I was so done. Besides it was 5 miles back to the car! We walked back most of the way in silence. I was struggling it was all uphill. Thing was I think I panicked because bushwhacking out didn’t seam as hard as bushwhacking in. I felt so bad. She said she is going back to find it. I believe it!

I feel so awful for quitting and now it’s pouring! It actually feels so good I don’t even put my poncho on. I felt like I was washing all the sweat and spiderwebs off!We walked a couple more miles in on and off rain and running into all the spiderwebs we missed!

There is one 10 ft Falls we can get to. I don’t think it has a name.

It felt like forever until we made it back to the car. It’s 4 pm. We have been out here for 7 hours. We would normally head home but since we haven’t seen any waterfalls we pick out a couple.

We head to Cathy’s Creek Falls. It was down a long road that turned into a dirt road. Again our directions are a little off. We pass a bridge and a path on the right. I took my wet shoes off after the hike and don’t want to put on wet shoes so i wore my Chacos. I thought they would be fine since it was less than a 1/2mile. We take it through a campsite and down a steep trail. I was climbing down a root hill and everything is wet. My feet slid on some wet roots and I went down hard. I landed flat on my back. My butt landed on a big root and man did it hurt. Turns out you can bruise the fattest part of your body! This is the bruise on my butt!

I got up slowly and continued down the trail carefully. We found a view of the falls but no way to get down. It was a beautiful Falls.

On the way up funny girl takes a picture of me going up where I fell. She’ll put it on Facebook with the captain “she follows me wherever I go”

We went back to the car and went back to the other side of the falls to find another trail to the bottom. I put my shoes back on! We climbed down a steep trail to the base of the falls.

It’s about 5:30 now and we head up past looking glass falls to see 2 more waterfalls. Directions have us turn a dirt road and go a couple miles. It passed so close to Looking Glass rock. It was huge.

The directions weren’t clear. It said follow directions to Discovery Falls. It doesn’t say park here but it does say after the 2nd bridge the falls is on the right. We drove down and passed 2 bridges and there was a trail to the right. We walked down the trail and there was a campsite full of trash and tarps it was creepy. I can’t believe people would do this!

We realized we were at the wrong place and went back to discovery falls. We park here and this time walk 2 bridges on an old dirt road

The falls was on the right. It was Log Hollow Falls.

We continue down this road to the next Falls. My bearanoia creeps in cause it’s dinner time. I guess bears eat at 6 too?! Lisa says oh look blackberries everywhere. Bears like blackberries! 🙄

Anyway we reach the next Falls which is Log Hollow Branch Falls. It is super tall but way overgrown so hard to see. It was an amazing thing. Time to turn around and head back to the car to go home.

Well that was a lot and a long day. We get back to the car near 7pm (10 hrs and 14 miles). Time to eat and get home! Wow what a Monday!

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