Saturday, April 9, 2016

Finished my Alarka Research Sunday April 3, 2016 and an area waterfall on private property.. a new friend

Trillium grandiflora 

Finished my Alarka Research 

Dana Koogler 

Sunday April 6, 2016

Hike distance 2 miles RT approx. 

Photo gallery is here-- a collection of all the various trips

Alarka Pix Gallery

  Last Sunday I drove over to Alarka Laurel for the last time for awhile I hope.
I had grown weary of the long drive, and the repeated trips.   I won't go into the details, but to motivate myself I worked it out where I could visit a waterfall in the area that was on private property.   The land owner was a very nice fellow named Bill, and he invited me over to see the falls on his place. They don't have a name.  I went there first and spent a couple hours visiting with him and checking out the falls. It is a large waterfall and very pretty. It did not have a ton of water on it, but it was good.   He went out of his way to be kind to me.  I made a new friend 
into the deal.   It is worth mentioning that the fellow who was so nice to me.. is the same person who has been keeping the trail to the base of Alarka Falls cut out! He is maintaining it. I knew it looked better. Today I got to find out who was responsible. I thanked him!  

 This is the topmost part of the waterfall on his place. The trail to it is very steep! It is about 20 ft tall.
 This is the view of the falls from his yard and porch.
 This is an isolation shot of a part of the stream flowing away from the base of the falls.
This is the main falls. It was quite pretty. 

      I finally got going and parted company with him.  I had to drive back thru Bryson City on my way to the Big Laurel to finish up.  I stopped and grabbed a quick lunch at McDonald's and went on my way ASAP. I wanted to finish up and had several things left to do.    

         I got up Conleys Creek Road this time and the gate was open. The road is in fair condition except for a few washed out spots and ruts.   I parked at Wesser Gap and hiked from there to check out the waypoints for where streams should start.  The trail is easy, wide, open and the going pretty swift.   I arrived at the spots where I showed headwaters streams should be.  
I saw nothing.  I continued on past those spots further than I needed to go in the hope I was just off by a bit.   It turns out the map is incorrect. The headwaters of Alarka Creek is large, but it doesn't start up here.  Those streams shown do not exist.  I hiked back and headed toward
the next spot to see what I could find.   What I did find was a source spring that starts on the wrong side of the road from what is shown, flows across the road, flows parallel to the road then merges with the second source spring.  That is part of why the second stream that crosses the road is much larger. It  contains the volume of both springs!  I was unable to penetrate the dense growth of rhodo which reminded me of trying to hike thru a wicker clothes basket. 
I made it a very short distance walking in the stream and had to turn back.  I went down the road a bit further and found a third source stream not shown!  It flows down the mountain eventually merging with Alarka Creek. Additional springs can be found along trail 86E which goes to the top of the falls.  I know of three for certain.  The flow in from the right side of the trail every one of them.   The watershed for Alarka Creek is very large and that is why it is always a good falls to visit year round.  

           So I found map mistakes.  Stuff not there which is shown. Stuff there which is not shown. I corrected my maps as best I could and they are closer to correct than others out there.
I finished shooting videotape footage to make a movie of Alarka Falls from source to the base of the main falls.   I did not find any additional waterfalls or cascades in the headwaters.  The best movie I ever saw of Alarka Falls was made by Rich Stevenson. He used music from B-tribe. 
I purchased a tune from B-tribe to use with my footage as a tribute to him.  He is still the master.    It turned out ok.  Below is the result.

           Once I was done I headed home.  I was weary and glad to be finished.
Other things learned from this trip:

There is a small path heading up along that third source stream which I could investigate.
Nothing is blooming up here to speak of in the month of March.
There are a couple waterfalls on East Alarka Road which are un-named and in The Falls gated community. It is about 1.5 miles back East Alarka Road.   I saw photos of them and they are pretty, but not very big.
There is a waterfall on Unahala Creek by a private rental cabin.

I am sure I have not learned every single thing there is to discover about this area, but I have
learned a great deal. I have compiled a guide and it is as complete as it can be now.
It feels good to have seen it through.

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