I had planned to go hiking this weekend, mainly to try taking my digital camera and doing a long time-lapse of stars in the deep woods, and to enjoy some cooler weather. The mountain temperatures were in the mid 80s, compared with the high 90s at my house. However, with the threat of rain and the wife wanting to see some waterfalls, instead we loaded up the car and took off. The mountains of SC/NC are always beautiful, although they are 3-4 hours away.
In preparation for the event, my wife had found a web site called “6 drive up waterfalls in NC”. In retrospect it should have said something like “5 drive up waterfalls that are spaced all over the western part of the state, and one extra one that has a really shitty view” The shitty view one is below, called “Toxaway Dam Falls”. Most of what you see is above, because the only halfway decent view is from the highway overpass, where you have to park the car and walk to the edge of a 4 lane highway. If you rent one of the condos in the picture, you’d have a really nice view, but there’s nothing for miles in either direction so you better just like sitting on the porch.
The second falls was along the same route, US 64. Google needs to REALLY do a better job estimating time. US 64 near Brevard, NC has been my experience: 4 lane highway with gentle turns. US 64 west of the French Broad River turns into a 2 lane twisting, turning mountain road. It takes MUCH longer to navigate. We stopped in Highlands, trying to find a ice cream/sandwich ship that apparently went out of business, and wound up at a pizza place/video rental store and had some really decent brick-oven pizza. Yeah, I didn’t know they still had video rental stores, either. But, this being the mountains, there are probably a lot of people without cable and internet, so maybe the DVD store is the only place they can catch up on hollywood’s latest sequels and reboots.
After Highlands, we quickly found Bridal Veil Falls. There are several falls of the same name in NC, it seems. This one was a drive-up walk under falls that was pretty neat, yet not very impressive in volume.
Kaylee was ordered not to fall in the hole and get wet.
At Bridal Veil, it started raining, and before we reached the next falls, it would be raining quite a bit.
The last falls of the day was Dry Falls. Right off 64 and down some stairs, Dry Falls was Bridal Veil Fall’s big brother. They call it Dry Falls because you can walk behind them and stay dry.
It was quite impressive in scale and beauty.
I tried my hand at a long exposure by tricking the camera into a closed aperture, and got some misty, filmy looking water.
After Dry Falls, one of our group wasn’t feeling so well and we started looking at the map. The falls I really wanted to go to (Looking Glass) would have required going all the way back down 64, through Brevard and then back home. The other, SOCO falls, was going to require a jaunt up the Blue Ridge Parkway, and despite Google assuring me it was only 45 minutes, I know Google lies.
So, not wanting to be driving home through storms at midnight, we pushed the “Go Home” button on the car GPS and listened to our Crackhead GPS (Emily II). She found some nice 4 lane easy-turning roads for us.
We had fun but it was a LOT of driving for one day. It reminded me of why we don’t do many day hikes in our hiking group. 8 hours round trip in the car for four hours of hiking just isn’t practical. Next time, I think, we’ll have to drive up, see some stuff, and stay in a hotel. Then see stuff the next day and go home.
On the plus side though, the wife and kid found a LOT of Pokestops, since there’s one at every corner in these little mountain towns. Every stop light they were saying “I got it!” We also got to eat at the Blue Ocean seafood place (thanks Jim) at the Clinton exit on I-26. Great place, always packed.