Monday, April 14, 2014

Chilogatee Creek Falls --Making it to the Base!

Old warsh tub.. pioneer junk.. along the trail.

Chilogatee Creek Falls --Two Attempts for One Falls!

    I have been lucky enough to become friends with that intrepid off trail explorer.. Mike Gourley!   He is good about sharing info and what a blessing that has been!
We learned of a nice waterfall near home in our own county. Reading Mike's trip report
we realized there was a big waterfall close to the house.  We were busting to go see it.
We took a look at the maps. Got in the truck and headed that way following his directions.

 We found the spot to enter the woods and start the trail. There is an actual trail for part of the way.  It is a very short hike.  We passed an old homesite and some pioneer junk along the way. We saw daffodils at the old home site.

    We found the top of the falls.  The bluff here was a sheer drop.  We had known from reading the topo map and his description that reaching the base was going to be tough.
The terrain here is super steep and it is one of the narrowest gorges either of us had ever seen.   Dark down there. Reminds you of the line from the Patti Loveless song "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" where it talks about the sun coming up at 10 in the morning and going down at 3 in the day. That is how it is there.   We foolishly listened to MY idea and followed the trail down and the creek back up. It was horrible.  We bushwhacked up through there slipping and sliding and not making much real progress.  The terrain forces you into the creek as the only semi level ground to walk on.  Kenny was not having it.
Finally he said forget this we are out of here.  We began the steep climb back out. 

This is the only view of the falls we had on the 1st try.
This is the top portion only with no way down from here.

And here is the creature I found on my climb up.
My eyes are still working well enough to spot a snake!
This is a harmless northern water snake. 
Any snake with round pupils is non poisonous. These are often mistaken 
for copperheads who look similar.  My balance was not ready for this.
I fell and injured my shoulder and ankle today on the way in.  
I did not realize until the next day how badly I had bruised my shoulder joint.
I was also limping on the injured ankle for several days.

Try Try Again! --The Second Attempt.
 Saturday March 29, 2014

Balance is better.  Vision is better.  Gonna try this again.
We needed something to do that did not involve a long drive.
We'd finish this today!

We took rope. We decided to learn from the previous mistakes.
We hit the trail and picked the exact right place to go down over the bluff.
The last thirty feet were too steep though. We roped up and rappelled down.
It was fun. I never had a moments hesitation or fear. My balance in performing
this was perfect.  We got IN the creek and waded.  It was not easy, but it was
shorter, more direct and relatively level.   We make two bends in the creek which is wedged between high gorge walls and we were there!

Chilogatee Creek Falls. It is about 70 ft high! Plenty of water coming over it today.
Well worth the effort ... thus far!

You can view the entire falls from the left side of the creek near the base.
We had to climb up onto the slopes of the bluff to see it. Today was good
practice for my balance and with the new camera.

The bluff was loose slate. It was a choss and scree pile.
 Remember this because its going to be on the quiz!

 My 19th Nervous Breakdown--Climbing Back UP!

Kenny took a notion we would not go back the way we came.  
He realized that just above the bluff where we were now... was the place we 
had turned to start down.   No point going back. Just leave that $3 poly rope.
Climb the bluff back to where we came in.  Easy for him to say.
The next thing I knew I was foolishly but obediently hauling my 
Big Booty Judy self back up there to where he was.  He is like a monkey.
He found a way up in no time flat.  Then he had to come back to get me and help me.

The bluff above us

Climbed up here. Never never again.  At least not without a rope!!

The climb up here was horrifying to me.  Remember.. I'm dealing with proprioception problems.  I can't tell where my body and limbs are positioned in space real well yet.
So climbing here on a slope that is allowing me to slide back down every second or two was a nightmare.
 I was terrified and crying by the time I was back on the mountain above this.  I was pissed off, but glad to be alive.  A roped climb controls the descent or ascent.
It provides a fixed anchor and position in space for my focus.  A slate bank... with no rope
allowing my body position to constantly change is not the ticket!
But we made it.

I grumbled all the way back to the truck. Siggin friggin... never doin' that again.. shoulda gone back the way we came and climbed the &^%#* rope......


  1. But you did it and that is what counts! Now you can look back and laugh :)

  2. I'm telling him he owes me sexical favors for that number! ;-D


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