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Archive for April, 2010

The third and final large waterfall we visited in South Cumberland State Park, is also in the Savage Gulf area, Greeter Falls. It’s a 50 ft waterfall into a nice amphitheater, with a pool ready for swimming at the base. The road to the trail branches off from TN-56, between Altamont and Beersheba Springs. Our waterfall guide book reports the trail as 0.9 mi one-way, though it felt much shorter than that to us. There is also a 15 ft Upper Greeter Falls off the trail before descending to the lower (main) fall.
Greeter Falls
Doug’s take:
Greeter’s Fall was great setting, Greeter Falls Reflection and I think my favorite of these first 3 falls this day (though I liked all 3). I liked the cove-like setting for Suter more, and the overhead view of Fosters, but the pool and many foreground elements here gave lots of choices for composition. The sun came out for the last 2/3 of our time there, but I think I still was able to get some shots I liked, though it prevented me from getting a great photo showing off the color of the pool. The upper fall didn’t really do much for me, with it being 15 feet, having bright sun on it, and very square, almost cut evenly. Still, Greeter Falls was a nice way to end the half-day of waterfalling, and we took off for Burgess Falls, to meet up with our friend Joe and his family.

Scott’s take:

WOW! what can I say about Greeter? I really liked this waterfall. The setting is fantastic and the compositional opportunities are endless (just look at what me and Doug got for about 30 minutes of shooting). Even with the sun coming out I was able to do a little filter stacking and get the exposures I needed. I was immediately drawn to the left side where the creek flows out from the splash pool. Here there was some fantastic cascades which created wonderful opportunities for various compositions. Overall this place was my favorite of the three falls in the Savage Gulf Area. Oh, and how many waterfalls give you a spiral stair to get to them?


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The second waterfall we visited in the Suter FallsSouth Cumberland State Park, we explored the Savage Gulf area, to find Suter Falls. After finding the parking area off TN-108 in the community of Laager, we descended along the trail for 0.7 miles into a rock house, walking along the edge to the fall. It’s a 40 ft fall, the first of 3 falls in the immediate area, and it’s described as looking very different, depending on water flow.  The middle cascade is 20 ft, then there is a final Lower Suter Falls that are not visible from the trail, though the terrain prevented our seeing it beyond the top of it.

Doug’s Take:
I really liked the setting of this fall, the cave-like feel of the setting provided a nice and secluded–isolated feel (until other people came by). It’s definitely a place where the fall wasn’t as impressive as the setting it was in. And the light rain just added to the feel (though challenging photography a little). The middle cascade I couldn’t get a great shot of (and it didn’t feel worth excessive effort), and I wasn’t willing to risk getting to the lower falls this day, with many other falls to get to still this day…

Scott’s Take:

I don’t have a whole lot more to add to what Doug said. The hike was cool and the gorge this set of falls sits within is really fantastic. There was a lot of “chipped” like rock, which I assume came from the rock walls, that made for an interesting base. The falls weren’t crazy photogenic but the two aluminum ladders tied together for crossing the creek was pretty cool (See photo at right). And I’m interested to get further down along the trail on this one as the hike, as I said, was pretty cool.

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This is the first of a series of posts we’re going to post for a trip that Scott and I did to Tennessee this past weekend, also meeting up with our friend from Flickr, Joe and his family. How we plan to approach this is to first post an objective description of the area & fall, then my and Scott’s impression, so here goes.

Fosters Falls

As we drove north, Scott and I first stopped at Fosters Falls, which is in Fosters Falls Small Wild Area, part of the South Cumberland State Recreation Area. It is located just of US-41, 1/2 hr or so north of Chattanooga, between Jasper and Tracy City. The area has an overlook of the 60 ft Fosters Falls and its amphitheater. It is also the start of the Fiery Gizzard Trail, which you can take around the gorge to see the other side, above both Fosters Falls and a thin seasonal 120 waterfall, Horsehair Falls. You can also descend 0.4 mi to the pool at the base of the falls.

Doug’s take: Fosters Falls from the Base It was mostly overcast, providing great shooting conditions. The view from the overlook showed off the fall and setting very nicely. Looking at all the trees, it made me want to come back in autumn to see them in their full glory. I really love good water pools full of color, so I enjoyed shooting from the base, though it didn’t wow me as much as some. The setting reminds me a lot of the waterfalls in Cloudland Canyon in north Georgia. The view from the other side was very impressive, sitting on a rock, having a commanding view down on both Fosters Falls and the little Horsehair Falls. Though better falls were to come, I enjoyed this fall a lot, especially great for starting the day.

Scott’s take:

Just as Doug mentioned the weather conditions for our first waterfall of our 3-day weekend trip couldn’t of been more perfect. Ironically the best view of the falls, in my opinion, was from above and on the established viewing overlook. It was fun hiking to the base and seeing the waterfall from that perspective, but the overall experience, for me at least, wasn’t that overwhelming – both in person and photographically. I agree with Doug though that this waterfall when the color is changing would probably make for some really dynamic shots. This one was a good start to our trip and easy to get to so definitely worth checking out if you are in the area.

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Water levels update: normal spring levels, plenty of water for most falls; but not at extremely high levels that some low-flow falls might require.
Spring greenery update: unlike in Atlanta, not much greenery, esp. above 1500-2000 ft. Buds are starting, so should be green in next two weeks.

Since neither of us have done much waterfalling recently, and spring is on its way, both Wizum and I wanted to get out to find some waterfalls this weekend. We chose an area neither of us had visited, Long Creek Falls, just off the Appalachian Trail, actually just a few miles north of the beginning of the AT. After around 10 miles driving on forest service roads (bumpy, but manageable with passenger car), we made it to Three Forks on the AT. Like the other “Three Forks” in Georgia, it is where 3 creeks come together at the same spot, but to be honest, the other Three Forks is more impressive. There were a surprising number of hikers and families at the trailhead and on the trail, especially considering the extent of the drive.

It’s a mile long hike on the AT beside Long Creek, and around 1/2 mile in, we heard rushing water, and saw a side trail, so we explored. Here we found a nice 15-20 ft waterfall that we didn’t even know was there, which we’re calling Lower Long Creek Falls for now.

Lower Long Creek Falls

Lower Long Creek Falls

After visiting the lower falls, we saw another fall, which we held off until the the way back. After 0.9 mi, the waterfall spur branches off the AT (and Bartham Trail) and descends to the fall easily. Long Creek Falls are impressive, having lots of water flowing. It has a small initial drop, then one large drop off a rock face to a shallow pool. It is a very nice fall, definitely worth the 2 mile (round-trip) easy hike.

Long Creek Falls

Long Creek Falls

Middle Long Creek Falls

Middle Long Creek Falls

We enjoyed relaxing in the presence of the fall for a time, then decided to head back. On the way back, we followed a faint trail to a middle series of cascades, including another 15-20 ft middle falls (between the main and lower falls). There were a lot of trees in the way, and sun shining in, so I don’t think I was able to capture how impressive this location really was when being there. It isn’t as powerful, but had more of a hidden feel.

After making it back to the trailhead, we then continued down the forest road to stop by Noontootla Falls. The fall is on a tributary of Noontootla Creek, actually, though there were a number of impressive shoals and cascades on Noontootla Creek itself that looked interesting to visit sometime (when sun isn’t out). It’s a very tall fall, greater than 100 ft.

Noontootla Falls

Noontootla Falls

There is not really a trail to the fall, just very steep and challenging scrambling up the right side of the creek along cascades, making it to the base of the large fall. Because of not having an impressive viewpoint, I don’t think the photo really shows how tall and impressive these falls are. They are great to see, even if it doesn’t translate as well photographically.

We then slid down the hill carefully, and drove the 10 miles on forest roads back, I think both glad to have gotten outside and done some waterfalling. I hope this spring will allow many other opportunities like this, especially as the green returns!

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