Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Waterfall Weekend in North Carolina --Big Bradley Falls from the Base and More

Old log barn in Saluda, NC.

Waterfall Weekend in North Carolina

Pictures are here starting with frame 195

Videos are here: 

Log Hollow Falls

   I had an opportunity to enjoy a weekend with my best friend Cathy Howell 
the weekend of August 9 & 10th.   Kenny was working out of town so I took the time
to enjoy Cathy's company. We added some waterfalls to the completed list of the Carolina Mountain Club's Waterfall 100.    We had time to catch up and visit. It was very nice.

   She had heard from a co-worker who lived in the Saluda area that there was a waterfall in the vicinity of Camp Bob Hardin. It is a local boy scout camp.  We went hunting for it.
We were unsuccessful.  The caretakers of the camp said there were no waterfalls on the property. They pointed us instead to Big Bradley Falls.  The search will continue after she has had time to talk it over a second time with her co-worker.  We've learned that it is not uncommon for the serious hiker to know of places even other locals are unaware of.  
He described a falls you can walk behind.  Big and Little Bradley Falls  do not fit that description.  So we'll have something else to look forward to finding!

     The back up plan was to get me to the base of Big Bradley Falls.  Kenny and I had hiked to it before but viewed it from the overlook.   Today we approached it the way Johnny Corn had showed Cathy, KT and Rich.. from Wilderness Cove.  The approach the first way involves a short hike and a treacherous climb down a rope.  Kenny and I did not spot the rope climb the first time and even if we had ... he refused to do it or to allow me to try it.   Today involved an approach from the opposite direction.  Upstream we went from the vicinity of Wilderness Cove tubing and camping business.  

      Today's hike was beautiful. The weather was overcast alternating with periods of drizzle then the sun would come out. It was very hot and humid. The first part of the hike is along an old gravel road and some through the woods.  We passed along the edge of a planted bean field.   The woods smelled great today.  The gnats were ready to carry us off.  I got a dozen or so in my eyes.  Hiking in this way afforded some chances to see other beautiful stretches of the river as well as some other pretty waterfalls and cascades.


One of several cascades along the river below Big Bradley Falls. This one had the best and biggest, deepest swimming hole.  I did not care if it did look like an old cow creek. I was burning up so I got in. It was great. I did the back stroke looking up at the sky. It was grand! Cathy did not want to get in so she climbed up on the rocks around the falls and explored.  I felt MUCH better after I got in swimming.

      The trail to Big Bradley from this direction is probably a better approach for some folks.  I am not usually bothered by steep terrain, but my nerves have been real bad lately.
I was able to do this but I felt ready to jump out of my skin on the narrow, steep parts.
I will be glad when I am back to my old self.

Ninety foot high Big Bradley Falls. The spray down here and the noise was intense!
So worth it!  I am glad to have a friend to show me the way.

    We hiked back and explored one small stream across the creek for a short distance.
What looked like a nice waterfall turned out to be a small cascade.  I took another dip in the creek and sat right in one of the cascades. It was icy cold and wonderful!

  We made our way back slowly. I am not in my best health and was in pain all day.
We saw apple trees. We saw a hawk. We saw cranefly orchids, maryland meadow beauty, and other pretty Summer wildflowers. I felt too bad to take pictures.

     We went back to Cathy's and cleaned up. She bought me a lasagna dinner at Mills River Restaurant.  We can both highly recommend this attractive and delicious eatery.
The service was fast and friendly.  The prices reasonable. Portions large. The menu is varied.  We went back to the house and played games for awhile. She beat me bad at the marble game. :-)  We turned in and slept late the next day.

       We had planned to go hiking today to see five waterfalls. Foul weather and my poor health had us only making it to three, but they were quite pretty.

   We visited all the waterfalls on Log Hollow. The Southern tributary falls is the furthest one and it is on the Waterfall 100 Challenge.  The upper one is little known and we were the only ones there.   We saw one other hiker all day.    The hike was really pretty and the drive was as well.   Pisgah Forest is always a great destination.  We will save Waterfall on Billy Branch and High Falls on the South Fork Mills River for another trip in 2 weeks.

Waterfall on South Tributary of Log Hollow Branch

Log Hollow Falls. I had been here before.

Upper Log Hollow Falls

Carolina Lily growing along the roadside on FR 475-B