Waterfall chasing

Lisa snd I

7/12/19

7 am we headed out. No exact plan because it was going to be a 2 night trek but things change. Lisa had a VERY aggressive waterfall list from Highlands, Robbinsville, Murphy, Franklin, and Collowhee.

We decided to go to Cullowhee first.

The plan was now Piney Mountain Falls and Bearwallow Falls. The directions say park on the road and hike up the road 2.65 miles unless you have a 4 wheel drive. Lisa drove her Toyota Tundra up that steep rutty road. There was a house near the top of the first hill. Then no one.  It had just rained so it was a little muddy and we slid a little bit but what a ride. Jumping and bumping most of the 2 miles. Very little of this road was flat! It was much better than walking up that steep hill. We drove all the way to the gate.

We followed the road a mile, turned around and went back. Walked back up the road then decided to bushwhack down to the creek below. From the creek we climbed to the left following the creek. Now it appears we should of went right. The creek we were following was Bearwallow but way above the falls. We couldn’t find Piney Mountain Creek on GAIA.

We came to the confluence of Chestnut Creek and Bearwallow creek instead. We searched this area and think we found an unknown Falls because I cannot find anything related to it. I put it out there on social media and it would appear we found something no one else may have!  It was a beauty.

It was at least 3 tiers about a hundred feet high? It was really nice. It’s after 12 now. We’ve spent 2 hours going like 3 miles. Time to go see if we can actually find a waterfall on the list. We started the trek back then actually followed a trailish that went back up to the original road we parked on! Back to the truck! We drove back down that road to go find another falls. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

The next one is on Caney Fork called Rough Butt Falls. We parked followed an old road through private property, crossed the creek, went right up a steep hill, got stung by a Yellowjacket. Turned around went left up a steep hill. Climbed back down and left! That was strike 3 but do we care?! No way!🀣🀣

These butterflies were everywhere! I had read that this is called Puddling.  They do this to get nutrients and salt from the dirt.  Its usually on a sandy or gravel road. There were hundreds of them in the road. Next we drove down the road to go find Sugar Creek falls.

Luckily it was a mile back on the road we came in on. We turned down a road. Directions say walk unless you have a 4 wheel drive. Well Lisa drives up this rather rocky road like a pro.

We drive all the way to the creek and park and cross it and keep going. It actually wasn’t much farther and we take a faint path to the right and go upstream to the falls. It’s a beauty. We actually get a two-for here. There is another waterfall to the right.

There is also an upper Sugar Creek falls. We don’t see a path and start bushwhacking up the side of it. I drop out and lisa continues and comes back with this one.

That’s it for Cullowhee. 5 falls to see 3 achieved and one discovery!

We decide to head to Franklin and to get some more before we camp. We pick High Falls and Bull Cove Falls. They are on the same road. Turns out we have to go through Clayton Georgia to get here. They are in NC but there isn’t a NC road that goes there. We head up Tallulah River road. A cool place similar to Wilson’s Creek but with state campgrounds on it. Lots of people there to fish. It’s getting late so we pick a campground 4 miles from the trail head called Tate’s Branch. $15 in a box gets you a campsite. No water, eldctric, WiFi and pit toilets πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Not bad though. Too many children believe it or not.

It rained slightly during the night.

I woke up at 7 and said you up? Yep. We packed up and was at the trail head by 8. It was 4 miles up the road through Tate City a 32 home community on this dead end road. All very nice houses. It was an old mining and logging community. You can read about it here – Tate City

The trail starts right on the road and goes .5 of a mile straight up!  She is always way ahead of me.

Good lord this mofo was hard first thing this in the morning! I huffed and puffed all the way up! Of course it went down the other side. We saw some people camping across the creek. He came over to ask if it was supposed to rain and to tell us he’d seen a momma bear and her cub. Lisa says oh good! She has been wanting to see a bear all weekend. 😳 I decided if I was hiking with bears I’d do it the bird box way!

This was a pretty nice falls tucked away in a corner with a rock wall around it.

Then back on the next trail. Which thankfully is a real trail, it’s even on AllTrails. But oh lord! 2 miles straight up! It was about a 1300  foot elevation in about 2 miles with absolutely no switchbacks till the end.

Good lord was I struggling! I’m soaking wet being attacked by gnats every inch of the way! What the heck do these gnats do when there are no people to attack?  I was really wishing I had a Gnat Hat like Brandi!

I stopped every little bit to take photos of pretty flowers, but really to rest. Lol

There was a nice rock wall that was part of an old railroad.

Then a left turn with switch backs even steeper than down below! We hiked to 2.67 miles and Lisa thinks we missed it so down we go. I don’t argue I hate this trail! In hind sight I think our destination was just up ahead because…..

We went back to where the switch back started and a faint trail went straight ahead it followed the creek. It ended though. Lisa wants to climb up the right side so up we go. You see me in there?

I start but just scream ARGH!!!! I’m not doing it! Without missing a beat she says I’ll be back I’m gonna see if I can find it! Here I sit all alone deep in the middle of absolutely nowhere! The closest people at least 2 1/2 miles away if they are still there!

I don’t hike alone. I’m a worrier. She was gone 30 minutes while I’m on bear watch! I’m thinking what if’s. She found it and saw the trail up to the road we were supposed to be on. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ She came back by climbing down the creek.  This is High Falls below.  It is a beauty.

She wants me to go see it. Nope not gonna do it, not going back up that road.  I’m doubt I’m ever gonna finish these 500 waterfalls but she definitely will So why take more time and go back up that god awful hill! 😁

I say let’s go to Highlands NC and get some more waterfalls as planned. We head back down Tallulah River Road and it’s like Myrtle Beach. People everywhere. They have chairs in the river, pack and plays on the shore.  Swimming and fishing. that’s why the campgrounds were full!

We head back and finally get some internet back in Clayton GA. It’s dark and starts pouring. I check the radar and all the NC mountains have thunderstorms all over so we decide to head home. Probably a good choice cause it poured most of the way!

It is always a fun adventure hunting waterfalls with Lisa.  She pushes me past my limits. This weekend I slacked a bit but what a great weekend.

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