Monday, November 23, 2015

Northrup Falls, Re-visit Devils Cave and Attempt at Reaching Magendanz Falls

Northrup Falls, Revisiting Devil's Cave and Trying to Reach Magendanz Falls 

Kenny & Dana Koogler
Sharon McGee & John Ungerer

Saturday Nov. 21, 2015


    Saturday  I had planned on going to see Sharon & John by myself and doing some hiking and exploring.  I wanted to do things that didn't involve the four wheeler and would be in areas where
it was unlikely we'd encounter hunters.    Kenny ended up being off Saturday so he got to go along as well.   We took lots of stuff in the jeep because we didn't know what we'd get into.   I was very enthused because I believed I had found a way to access two landforms we had tried to reach in the unsuccessfully. Hope springs eternal.  Poor Sharon & John are having to get accustomed to try try again stuff, but they are always great sports.  

          We got over to Jamestown Saturday morning and it was cold and clear.   It was going to be
a beautiful day.    We picked them up at their place and headed out toward Hwy 154 east of Jamestown.   We were going to try to reach the beautiful 75 foot Prices Arch.  We tried before off
Sara Beth Road, but that was over hill over dale and we're still not there...........
Today I said we'll get it today.  It is at the back of this housing development and there is no house near the spot where we have to go in.  That was true, but after driving out there I got to see with my own eyes what google earth satellite view did NOT show me. A gate.  The subdivision is a gated community now. It was NOT when those satellite images were shot.    People have really built homes here and live here so it was not a matter of parking and walking further into a vacant housing development. That idea being shot down we had to move on to the next thing.

             I wanted to visit the beautiful Magendanz Falls.  I believed I had found an access point not previously considered.  I had failed to lift a GPS coordinate for the roadside pull off so my homies were reluctant and so was I.   It was a marshy area.  I believed it was right, but I didn't want to put them through that.   We'd move on to a sure bet.  Northrup Falls here we come!

             We had not been to Northrup Falls in many years. It is a gorgeous waterfall in a deep, dark hemlock grove.   It is sixty three feet high and you can walk behind it.  It is an easy hike.
We went there and hiked to see it.  It was fun and I had plenty of time to take pictures. The light was not the greatest, but I made the best of it.   I went behind the falls and tried different views.
The deep green hemlock grove and the rushing waterfall and sunlight filtering down was so pretty.
Here is a shot of Northrup Falls with Sharon behind it for perspective. I have learned that in a natural setting a bright flash of some other color is attractive to me.  It was neat that Sharon had on a bright red jacket.   It is eye catching!

Here is a shot of the base of the falls where I zoomed in on the layered rock at the base. 
The light and gloom contrast may not be every photographer's dream, but I like the results.
We have had enough rain to make this falls attractive, but not muddy the water.

    We finished our hike back to the jeep. It was lunch time so we ate there in the parking area.
Kenny got his smart phone out and checked the waypoints and access area for Magendanz Falls.
I had the waypoint off by a bit, but the spot where we first tried was the right spot for an attempt.
We'd go back and give it another try.    We pulled over not blocking the gate and parked on the roadside.   We hiked back through the marshy area and then continued along the power line.
It was briary and weedy, but not too bad.   We didn't have far to go.  We came to a bend and continued and consulted the GPS for distance and bearings.     We entered the woods and after a brief swat through the brush we came to an old road we followed then crossed. The woods were more open for awhile, but thickened up again as we neared the edge of the bluff.  We got within 275 ft of the falls, but there was a huge thicket and a bluff between us and the base.  Kenny thought we needed to 
back track and go down to the drainage just past the falls and see if that would work.  I stopped everyone and made them be quiet. I believed I heard a four wheeler or some vehicle?  Then it was gone.    We went back out to the power line and there were hunters! I had heard something!
I was the only one wearing blaze orange so we decided it was best to let this go for the day.
Not worth making them upset and messing up their hunt or getting shot.

            Back at the jeep John mentioned that he'd like to head back to Devil's Cave and go IN it this time to the back. He also wanted to find the Peters Bridge access and see it. I did too!  We all said this sounded great.  They had been before, but forget to bring lights so they didn't go to the back of the cave.   We  headed out that way. John suggested while we were out there we needed to check out the Hitchin' Post.  We went to Devils Cave first.  It was a short, pretty easy hike.   Down over the bluff we went on the rope.   John up there making me laugh and get silly every time I tried to go up or down. He knows I'm weak minded.  We made it down there and checked out all the cool liesegang rings on the bluffs.   We hiked into the cave mouth and continued toward the back. We donned lights before we went up into the very back.  We had enough for everyone. Kenny's new flashlight was great!  It is small but powerful. The darkness swallows up some flashlight beams, but this one was 
right on.     We were treated to a different and better thing in the cave today.  It had rained enough that water was pouring from the ceiling at the very back like a waterfall!   

             It was very satisfying to see and to take John and Sharon back so they could enjoy it.  It was more fun for us being there with them too.  Lots of laughs and wonderment.   It was an excellent adventure.   Sharon agreed with me that being in there is like being inside a whale!
Rusty metal ruins of a still. One thing is a rusted saw blade and there is a pipe.
Very back of the cave.

John and Sharon ahead of me in the dark.  

   We left and hiked back out.  It began to rain.  It had grown windy and dark and the rain was just upon us as we got to the vehicle.      It grew colder and the wind was starting to whip.   We decided on the way out to stop at The Hitchin' Post and check that out and buy beer. We'd go by Baccara's and see if we could get in for an early dinner.   I loved the Hitchin' Post.  It was a cool little place just as John had said. The people were friendly.  I did not want to leave. The jukebox had a ton of country gold on there.  I love it when I find songs I had liked but forgotten.  I worked as a waitress in a truck stop when I was in high school. I hated it, but the jukebox helped it be more bearable.  
T.G. Shepperd's Slow Burn   was on that jukebox in the Hitchin' Post.  They promised me we'd come back and eat and visit and listen to music.   I am a honky tonk woman.  There. I said it.  I take the party with me where I go.   That's the way to be.

      We had a great dinner at Baccara's and had the place to ourselves! I ate German while the rest of them had American.   Jager schnitzle with spaetzele.    Good Yuengling beer.   The wind and rain outside the window made it very cozy inside.    Sharon tried to get us to stay the night which was VERY tempting, but I knew Kenny was wanting to sleep in our own comfy bed at home.
So that is what we did.    The day was fun and it was sure great to be with friends who we dearly love.    We always have a good time.   We got home at a decent hour and rested well.  Kenny works hard and doesn't often get to sleep in so no alarm is a treat!

Below is a short video of Northrup Falls set to a Jeremy Green cover of Hotline Bling by Drake.
I like this better than the original. That viole cries and sings and brings out the haunting melody of a pop song.   


  1. Beautiful area Dana...Northrup Falls! Still reading your blogs when it crosses my mind. I would like to explore some of the falls, rock arches and trails, other than just in the GSMNP, that east Tennessee and western NC have to offer when we get to spend some more time in the area. Enjoyed the blog as usual!

    1. Why thank you Tammy. I am so glad. This would be an excellent starting place. Bear in mind that this falls dries up during times of little rain to make it not a very satisfying visit. It is such an easy hike though that it is never a bad gamble if you have doubts about how it is flowing you won't put yourself out too much. I look forward to finding out what you think of some of these areas!


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