Archive for June, 2010

I know this isn’t in the Southeast, but I thought I’d do a blog entry from a trip from last month. See, in the Southeast, we’ve moved into summer, so it’s getting so hot that the hike to waterfalls becomes less appealing (though swimming in them is appealing). Therefore, waterfalling trips are becoming less, and and it’s time to remember the spring…

Last month I Clifty Creek went to Indiana and Ohio for a weekend, for a friend’s wedding and Mother’s day, respectively. On the way, I stopped by Clifty Creek State Park, in Indiana. It’s a beautiful park, with 4 impressive falls (well, impressive in spring). There are views of the falls (partially obstructed) from above, but the best views are in the creek itself. Big Clifty Falls I creek-walked (above) to Big Clifty Falls, the most impressive of the falls. The park restricts access to the base of all the falls, so this was the closest I could get. It’s a very impressive 60 ft curtain fall. I also tried to visit Little Clifty Falls, which were only a dribble, so I didn’t take out the camera. The remaining two falls both looked good from above, but I ran out of time to creek-walk to them.

The falls in this park are impressive to see before they dry up in summer…but to be honest–though I know that they have to have restrictions–not being able to truly access the falls really frustrated me, and minimized my enjoyment of the park.

The following evening (after the wedding and Mother’s day dinner), I Lower Fallsvisited the Hocking Hills of Southeastern Ohio. Hocking Hills State Park has multiple units to it, and one of those is Old Man’s Cave, a mile-long gorge where reportedly a 19th-century hermit lived for years. A creek flows through the gorge, with two waterfalls, which were my first destination. I visited late in the evening, before sunset, which avoided sun on the falls, and less people visiting. After walking through the cave, I first visited Lower Falls (above), Upper Fallswhich drops into a nice pool. There was a branch right on the falls that wasn’t present last time I was there years ago, but I wasn’t about to fix it…

Next I walked the 1/2 mile to the other end of the gorge, to Upper Falls (on left). It’s a smaller fall (both in height and flow), but the setting is very pretty, again with nicely-colored pool, and nice rock walls around it.

My final visit before it got too dark for the night was 50 foot Cedar Falls, the most impressive and most popular fall in the Hocking Hills. Again though, Beaversince it was late in the evening, I luckily had it mostly alone. In fact, walking up to it, I disturbed this beaver, trying to find sticks for a dam just feet from the fall. It is a beautiful waterfall, and the placid water was wonderful for reflections of the fall, which is where I focused most of my time before it became too dark. I think this shows off how waterfalls don’t have to be 1000s of feet tall or very powerful to be great views to behold–not seemingly known by waterfall lists of the “best waterfalls” in the world, listing only falls >1000 ft. These delicate falls can be wonderful, too (and easier to see up close).
Cedar Falls


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Weekend before last, Doug and myself headed up for a quick morning 2 hour drive to South Carolina and a visit to Issaqueena Falls. The idea was to hit a couple of the falls in the general area but the weather–and the amount of time and focus we put on Issaqueena–prevented us from exploring more. This was Doug’s second trip to the falls but my first to this one and to any in the northwestern part of South Carolina (note: almost all the falls in the start are located in just 3 counties – Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville).

Issaqueena FallsOur day for shooting was suspect as we hit a few rain showers on the way up. Of course, this usually can make for incredible waterfall shooting weather, and this day would work to our advantage. We arrived just after 10am and found a parking spot. Because of the falls’ close proximity of about 200 feet from the parking area, there were plenty of curious observers to check out Issaqueena Falls. Though there were people all around up top, not very many were adventurous enough (like Doug and myself) to climb down to the base. Of course those unlucky folks didn’t know what they were missing. The view from the base is fantastic and we had it all to ourselves (mostly).

While Doug started shooting from the left side I scrambled over and took some shots from the front and just below the main splash pool. It is always funny , when thinking about afterward, how differently we approach shooting from certain angles when we first arrive at a fall. I almost always hit a spot with cascades in front of the falls to capture some foreground in my shots. Doug seems to like hitting the falls from vantage points at one side or the other. In both our cases we really, I think, cover about every angle when we end up hiking and shooting falls together.

Lower Issaqueena Falls

After covering every shot possible of the main falls we headed down to get a few shots of the lower sections of Issaqueena. To our satisfaction there were two really great ledges that created some good shooting scenes. It was certainly worth the little extra effort getting down to the lower falls so if you ever check out this place do continue down for a little time at the lower falls. Thankfully, as our day went, our timing was perfect. Once we finished shooting the lower falls a bunch of people started to make their ways down to the main and lower falls. We can’t have people in our waterfall pics 🙂

At this point we headed back up to the car and drove a couple of hundred feet and parked again to explore the Stumphouse Tunnel. This time we had to deal with people in our exploration but then it also set up for a couple of neat shots while in the tunnel.  Doug was able to get his settings right and snap off a few cool shots (I’ve since deleted all my shots from the tunnel as nothing came out for me at all). Just after leaving the tunnel we headed over to an old rail car parked just outside the tunnel entrance and I did a little wide angle shooting of the trains wheels. Not soon after the heavens opened and we bolted for the car. The rain cut our trip short, but as short as it was I think we were both satisfied with the shots we were able to get.

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