Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Murphy NC Weekend Get Away--Hiking and Exploring Waterfalls

Murphy NC Weekend Get Away--Hiking and Exploring Waterfalls 

Dana & Kenny Koogler

Sat. Feb. 4 and Sun. Feb. 5, 2017

    I am way behind on blogging and hiking for that matter.  I've got two previous trip reports still unwritten.  We are helping raise a grandson at the moment. It has turned out to be a blessing, but a challenge.  At 52 years old I thought I was done having and raising babies.  I have not quit hiking or blogging, but when you've got someone waking you up at 3 am hollering "Bah-bah bah bah bah!" (Gabe's word for bottle) your priorities change.  

         I took Gabriel over to his other grandparents home on Friday afternoon.   I used Friday to decompress a little.  Saturday morning we left early and went prepared to either stay in Murphy or drive home... whichever we preferred.  We spent Saturday just hiking and enjoying Fires Creek WMA.  It was a perfect day for hiking. Sunny and warmed up to fifty degrees by midday.
We found Bald Spring Falls without any real trouble. Kevin Adam's directions were very good.
It helped being somewhat familiar with the area, and having a map.   We sat at the falls and ate lunch.
The waterfall is actually three falls on the same stream. We only went to the first one.   We did not
try to bushwhack to the other two.  We will do that another time.  There was enough water coming over to make it pretty, but not enough to have made Bald Spring Falls.. the furthest one up... really pretty.   The stream was nice and clear.  A few patches of ice and ice bats hung from limbs in the creek.   I have found that my frustration level has been so high at home that I cannot tolerate much
when things go wrong.  It has been so bad that while I want to get out and hike I prefer sticking to sure bets instead of gambling.  My nerves just won't handle any more right now.

 Lower Bald Spring Falls  Here is a link to the video of it.  Bald Springs Falls video
Icicles under a log in the stream.

    We went on out one of the gravel roads in Fires Creek and found a long, sliding type falls we had seen last Spring.  We did not go down to the base of it then, but today we came prepared with a long rope.  We tied it off and used it to go down the steep slope to get to the base.  We were able to get some fair shots of it.  We named it Long Branch Slide since it was on Long Branch and was like a slide. Very original and well considered, eh?  :-)   Taking photos of it from the base eliminates the view of the upper parts of the slide in the photo.  It is about 60 feet long or better.  Plenty of water coming over it today.  

Long Branch Slide Long Branch Slide video on You Tube

I set these videos to gospel songs of praise and worship.  Don't watch them if you are offended by God and Jesus.  I am leaning hard on the Lord during a tough time.  Psalm 61

           We left with the sun dipping low on the horizon.   We were tired and happy and hungry.
We found a motel room in Murphy and opted to spend the night. We tried out Brothers Restaurant.
It was very good and they have several locations. Lots of good reviews. We were not in the mood to get real dressed up tonight for dinner.  Country casual was just right.   We did a little bit of shopping in Murphy before we turned in for the night.   Kenny had me laughing at dinner until I thought I'd pee my pants.  It was a fun evening.  Much needed night away from home and the routine.
We both slept well. I remember waking at 5 am to go pee. I felt good and thought I was done sleeping for the night.  I woke up two and a half hours later!  It did not take long to pack and check out.  We grabbed a quick bite of breakfast and headed out to do some more hiking and exploring.

      We headed toward Andrews to try to find Cover Falls.  A friend had given me great directions.. PERFECT directions! We also had a way point in decimal. I was thrilled that I converted it just right. I had not converted a way point in so many months.  Cover Falls lies on private property, but sits below a forest service road that provides a chance to drop down to see it without tromping through the homeowners property.   It is worth the stop.
Cover Falls is a little over 30 feet high.  It is quite pretty.  There is some sort of little grotto up above it to the left (facing the falls).  There is also an old water pipe going past it!  If you trek on by the falls a bit further there is a valve sticking up out of the pipe in the middle of the trail. It was leaking.
Britton Creek is the stream it is on. You drive Tatham Gap Road to approach it.  Tatham Gap Road is part of the Trail of Tears.  A sad thing to remember, but an important part of history to recall lest we forget and repeat it.    We have driven the other side of Tatham Gap Road when we went to Teyahalee Bald fire tower.      We did not drive it through today out of concern we'd find it gated way out near the bald, then have to turn around.   We went on toward Robbinsville to head home.

Here is a link to Cover Falls video

       We stopped in Robbinsville at Ingles to buy a few groceries before heading home. I did not want to get home and have to go back out again.  We just put the cold stuff in the cooler until we were back home.   It was not much to fool with.  The weather had been cold and drizzly this morning. It was warming up and turning sunny!   We decided to try to find Burgan Creek Falls from Atoah Road on the west.   We had made a futile attempt from Long Creek Road on the east several years ago.  Kevin Adam's description of it being confusing and difficult was dead on.   His directions are perfect and you get a good start, but then as he promises.. all evidence of a trail disappears leaving you to guess your best.  Casey Marcum had bravely found it from that direction and warned me to try it from the west. On his bushwhack he spied a trail coming in from the west!  I had already figured bushwhacking in from Atoah Gap side would at least be shorter if not easier.   We were blessed in that someone has created an actual trail from that road all the way to the falls. It is flagged the entire way.  Easy to follow.  Whomever did it..... Thank you!

I put directions to the falls on the front page of my blog. Burgan Creek Falls Directions
Please feel free to print them off and make use of them.  It is an extremely pretty waterfall and now easy to reach.  We were very pleased to find it at last.   We were tired,happy and ready to head home. I napped in the car all the way home so I did not have to deal with the Tail of the Dragon today.  I am not a fan of that road.  It was easier to go into a coma and wake up near the house! Good to go. Good to come home.  We were both grateful and recharged to face life again.
*Note to self* I am already planning a return trip to Murphy to shop.  I am a Thrift Shop junkie, and I saw at least four I need to check out.  A day of shopping and a day or two of waterfalls would not hurt my feelings!

 Two views of Burgan Creek Falls.  It was exquisite in my opinion.

Here is a video of it below. It is about 60 feet tall.  

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