Tuesday, January 23, 2018

October Camping Trip with Kenny

Ladies Tresses Orchids growing along the Blue Ridge Parkway

October  Camping Trip with Kenny

Oct. 19, 2018  

Dana & Kenny Koogler 

   Kenny's job in Augusta did run over by a week, but the last few days everything fell into
place.  It wrapped up so we could leave and head back to Tennessee.  We stored the camper
at the trailer park, and made reservations to go on a camping trip the next weekend.  We 
would go down and get the camper and pull it back as far as Lake Toxaway and start our
vacation. Kenny had only taken a day or two off in five weeks! He was ready for a break. 
The drive home from Beech Island wore me out.  I don't like driving on busy interstate at 
night.   It makes me very nervous. Having Kenny behind me driving is like being pushed up 
the interstate as he drives like a NASCAR racer.   I am a slower, more careful driver.
I gotta say when we got to the rest area on the ride home he suggested we stop in Arden
and get a hotel for the night. I was doing high kicks in a tutu!  

      We went back in a week after Kenny had retrieved the rest of the equipment from down the road.
We made that long drive down there to get the camper, but it went smoothly and we made it back to 
the campground at Lake Toxaway. The first day of our trip was mainly travel.    We stayed at a 
place called River Bend RV Park. It was great!  Very friendly owners and hosts.  They run an 
awesome campground and we could not believe we hadn't stayed there before!  We will definitely be
coming back. 
 Above a view of the grounds
Below is the K├╝gler Haus mobile unit.

   One of the goals for the camping trip was just to be together and relax.  Another goal was to get some exercise and see some Autumn colors.  Lastly I wanted to work on completing my CMC Waterfall 100.   I had not done much with it this past year.   We arrived late the first night so we
just went to bed.  The next day we got up and got oriented and paid the campground owner.
We then set out to hike.  We visited the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wolf Mountain Overlook and 
hiked to Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields.  We got an early start because Graveyard Fields can be
very crowded and hard to find parking.   Wolf Ridge Overlook was pretty as was the whole parkway.
Saw a few Autumn wildflowers at the overlook.   

 View from the Blue Ridge Parkway near
A splash of Fall color 

   The hike to Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields is a short, easy one.   It is such a pretty area, but we avoid it almost always just because of the crowds.  It was crowded today as well and we encountered lots of other hikers. It was a Friday morning so it was not quite as impossible to cope with.   
Upper Falls is never going to be a favorite waterfall, but it was neat. 

 View of the stream at Graveyard Fields
 Fly fisherman casting near the bridge.  Look how clear the water is!
 Lower sliding portion of Upper Falls
Upper Falls proper.  It was a beautiful sight today neath those blue blue skies! 

         We visited with other hikers and their pets at the falls.  We had a snack and headed back toward the truck.   I had been waiting to see the new Kingsmen movie with Kenny. We had movie tickets to go to Hendersonville that evening to watch it together!  We had a nice date night and dinner to wrap up our day.  It was good! The cineplex in Hendersonville was very cool.  We also saw more of the town than ever before. It is a neat little town and we like it more and more!

 Day Two- Hilliard Falls 

     Saturday was our long day for hiking. We were going to try to drive my jeep all the way out
Musterground Road. I had figured out that if  we could make it out to a certain point on that road the hike to Hilliard Falls would be about four miles round trip as opposed to 12 miles!  Thanks Rich for
your awesome website and great directions.   I had printed the directions from Rich's website. 
They were spot on.  My jeep handled it like a boss and we were able to avoid the extra long hike.  
I told Kenny that if this worked I was going to set up a trip with our friend Wally. He needed this last falls to complete his Waterfall 100.   The hike was beautiful. The forest colors were pretty. It was good exercise and so quiet. We only saw two other hikers all day!  They had hiked in from the long way.  We offered to have them wait on us at the jeep and give them a lift back out, but they opted to 
go on as planned.  Foothills Trail is very scenic.
Hilliard Falls! We made it! That gets me down to six falls left! 
 Lower cascade of Hilliard Falls
A different view looking down the lower cascade.  I loved the sunshine on the water.  

  We sat and had lunch at the campsite below Hilliard Falls.   We then headed back on that long uphill trudge to the trailhead.  It was tough, but shorter than I expected.  About the time I believed we had quite a lot of uphill remaining I then corrected myself and realized we were done with the serious uphill!   The rest was level or only gradual ups and downs.   We started back out toward the main road driving slowly thanks to all the rocks, downed trees and pot holes.    I spotted a waterfall not mentioned anywhere on a side stream. We stopped and walked up to it to check it out. It was rather pretty!  I think Wally dubbed it Koogler Falls, but it really doesn't have a name.

Pretty cascading falls near Musterground Road.

          We made it back to the campground and got cleaned up and had dinner.  We were tired, but happy.   I now knew I could make the trip back over with my friend and see to it he got finished his list!

  Day Three--Assorted Falls 

  We did not have a big agenda once I knocked out the two list falls I'd wanted to see. 
Rather we had  a long list of maybes.   We started off going to Gorges State Park.  We hiked to Bearwallow Falls at the overlook. It was neat.  The views and the visitor center were pleasing.
We then moved on to other area falls. I had this nagging doubt as to whether I'd visited D.E.W. Falls in the past? I believed I had on the day we visited Johns Jump Falls, Slippery Witch and White Owl Falls.  I just couldn't recall it though. I told Kenny I wanted to go since it was so short. I figured if I HAD been before it might jog my memory.  We stopped by the trailhead for that falls on the drive back out to the main road.   We hiked to DEW falls and I am so glad, because I do not believe I had previously been!  That ended up taking another one off my list.   It is so pretty. I was really glad we visited this falls just because it was too pretty to miss. It would be a fun easy hike to bring kids back to play in the water.  
 Bearwallow Falls

Autumn colors at Gorges State Park

D.E.W. Falls in Autumn.  

 I liked this little clearing we walked through to reach DEW Falls.

And in keeping with my quirky Dana Bee tradition... the chair at DEW Falls.  Not a skillet, but it was
the best I could do on short notice.   This must be the time out chair for ..somebody.

Let the Bellyaching Begin! 

    We went on down the road and turned on Rt 215 to try to find some of the various lesser visited waterfalls along it.   Big Bearwallow Falls was a short roadside bushwhack.   I figured it would be a piece of cake.   I figured the rest of the falls would all be easy since while bushwhacks or creek hops were short.  I never learn.   We struggled down the steep bank toward Big Bearwallow Falls. We found it.  It was pretty and I'm not sorry we went.  The climb back up that mah was bad though. I was sweltering hot by the time we got up there. I had gotten jabbed with sticks and smacked in the eye by a sapling.   I was whining and complaining. I said I was DONE! Time to go home to the camper.
We were invited to a chili supper and football game watching party. I did not want to go with a black eye.   
Big Bearcamp Falls

    Kenny comforted me and was very sweet.  He talked me into a better mood on the way home.  
I was not interested in bushwhacking a long way to the other two falls in the area, but he convinced me to be a sport and stop at Lemon Falls. It is such a short hop over the bank. I was glad we stopped. 
I had lost all but one photo of this waterfall from a previous trip.   He found us a MUCH easier route to the base than what Cathy and I had used.  It was pretty and I enjoyed the stop.

 12 foot high Lemon Falls.
 Being down over the embankment and hidden in rhodo make it impossible to see from the road.

 Clear sparkly water at the base of Lemon Falls
Mica flecks in the water are like golden fairy glamor.

         We went back to the camper. I got in better spirits. Rested. Cooked chili.  Made cornbread.
Got a shower and got fixed up.  We spent the evening watching the UT Vols get whupped by Alabama's Crimson Tide.   The camera pan through the crowd of UT fans just screamed Mud Dogs from The Water Boy movie.  It was a fun evening and a good way to wrap up a camping trip. Making new friends.  Relaxing.   Better to go home still wishing for more than leaving wishing you had never come!  This way makes sure we'll be back!    

Below is a video of Hilliard Falls set to music by Enio Morricone.. Gabriel's Oboe

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