Archive for January, 2011

Wow! It’s been forever since I’ve done a blog post. I just received a notice from WordPress that our blog had 1300 views in the past year–which surprised me, but also made me feel guilty about not updating in 6 months. What’s been going on? I’ve been waterfalling (as I think Scott has some), but it mostly hasn’t been in the Southeast US (low water levels lead to not as good waterfalling), so I didn’t post it here. In the summer, I visited the upper Sierrra Nevada and Lake Tahoe region, seeing around 10 waterfalls; and in autumn I visited New Hampshire and Vermont, seeing 20 waterfalls. But there was one more trip this past year that would qualify for this blog, so I figured I’d start off the new year right, with a post!

Since it’ll soon enough be waterfalling season here in the southeast, be ready for more posts soon (as well as like last year, updates on conditions during spring). If you have any other ideas to improve the blog, let me know!


I hadn’t done any waterfalling with Scott (the co-author of this blog) for months, so we took off for Labor Day weekend in September up to North Carolina, mostly along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a wonderful weather weekend, comfortable temperatures and sun, but that didn’t make for a good of waterfall shots…

The first stop was the Rainbow FallsHorsepasture River on our way up to the Blue Ridge. The Horsepasture is an amazing wild river (which undoubtedly deserves its own post in the future) with multiple waterfalls, but this time we only visited Rainbow Falls. Rainbow is one of my favorite NC waterfalls, with its amazing wild setting, being able to access it, and being a powerful 125 ft waterfall. Also the first time I visited it was in autumn of 2007, when I had the fall all to myself, with a radiant foliage display. This time wasn’t quite as breath-taking, but it’s still an amazing fall. Since I visited it then, access to it has changed, now accessed from the new Gorges State Park. A good description of access is on Waterfall Rich’s site. The new trail to Rainbow is easy enough (3 miles round-trip); and after sunset, we came across a black bear on the trail on the way back to the car (though no photos of it). We spent a while photographing Rainbow Falls from multiple angles, but this was the photo I liked the best.

Crabtree FallsThe next morning we started off on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the fall we visited was one I’ve wanted to see for a while, Crabtree Falls. It’s a popular stop on the Blue Ridge, with its own recreation and camping area. As Rich describes, it’s a 2 mile loop to the waterfall, descending on the way to it–so climbing back up. I really loved this waterfall–it definitely did not disappoint in seeing it. It’s an amazingly photogenic waterfall, with the curtain of water over many steps, and a nice setting. However, as you can see in my photo, there was a lot of sun, and with the partial tree cover, it made a good shot impossible. I definitely need to return when there are better photo conditions.

Our next stop on the Parkway was Linville Falls. It is also a signed stop off the Parkway, with a visitor center, and was INCREDIBLY crowded. I guess that’s what we get for going on a holiday weekend! 🙂Upper Linville Falls I had been here before, and like then, I went away not too impressed. It’s not that it’s bad, but for being as famous and popular as it is, I guess I expected more. I’m sure that on a different day, not fighting crowds on the trails, that I might feel differently. The first stop was Upper Linville Falls, a few feet double drop, which I liked better for the setting than the fall itself. We continued Linville Fallswith the crowds along the path to the view of the main fall, but I didn’t get anything that appealing from the viewpoint. The better view was from another trail (without a sign denoting the trail) that starts from the visitor center, runs along the other side of the gorge, and descends to the base of the fall. There you can climb around on the rocks below the fall, and there were many different angles for photography. It was much more enjoyable an experience there than above. As you can see from the photo, there was a lot of sun while we were there, but with my 8x neutral density filter (and a polarizer), I could manage a long exposure to get a decent shot.

We finished off our full day along the Blue Ridge with a stop at Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. We also hiked a very pleasant trail over to Mount Craig, the second highest point. There were no waterfalls there :), just beautiful views of the southern Appalachians: Mount Craig

The next morning we first visited Graveyard Fields area off the Parkway, a high-altitude flat valley. It’s very popular for hiking, but being early in the morning, we didn’t have too much of a problem with crowds. There are 3 major waterfalls there, but given low water levels, we only visited one, Second Falls. It’s a short (1/3 mile) hike down to Second Falls from the parking lot (so we figured even with low water levels it would be worth it–I’m very glad we did). The falls is on Yellowstone Prong, and given the rock color, I can see how it got its name… Though we had to deal with lots of sun, I was actually pleased with how the photo turned out, the sun allowing me to bring out the vivid colors.
Second Falls

Then as we left the Parkway to head back toward Atlanta, we drove down Highway 215 and stopped by one last waterfall, Courthouse Falls. I think it ended up being my favorite of the trip. It goes to show that it isn’t the tallest or most powerful, but the overall presentation that really appeals to me with many waterfalls. It took just 5-10 minutes to hike to it, but we had it all to ourselves, and it was in a nice rock amphitheater. It was hidden from the sun, so I could finally get a waterfall photograph that I really liked from the trip–it only took until the last one! But now I have an idea of some places to re-visit with better waterfalling conditions (and it was great to get out and do some hiking).
Courthouse Falls


Read Full Post »