Most hikes in WNC are a time for a simple communing with nature. There aren’t significant challenges unless you look for them. Recently, I found some! Upon hiking to Dismal Falls the descent into the gorge was the steepest I have encountered to date. Ropes had been set up by previous hikers, and I brought some rope in anticipation of needing them, and I did. Hiking in November means there are a lot of leaves on the ground making it slippery. And if you go hiking after a recent rain, it is yet more slippery. But combining wet ground AND leaves and the combination makes a seriously steep climb into a gorge harder.
At the top of the gorge I set up my rope and knotted it every four feet (or so). Then I started down. Of course I slipped a time or two but overall it wasn’t too bad. I also was not happily anticipating my return trip, but I kept going. About two thirds the way down I looked up and was incredibly surprised to find a photographer making his way up. We chatted for a few minutes and he was very happy to have a second rope available to him. We also discussed being there at the wrong time of day for the best photographs.
Since I have my photos to show I made it there and back this hike is obviously very do-able. But I have to say that I am a planner. If I didn’t have my rope I could have made it anyway but the chance of an accident would have increased a lot. Just be careful out there. And be wary if you choose to utilize ropes that others have set up.
I have had a blast this summer getting outdoors, hiking, and taking photographs. I’ve taken some good shots, and some that capture the moment but don’t show it in the best light (pun intended). You can see many of the waterfall shots on its page (click HERE to go there).
I plan on continuing this each weekend throughout autumn and into winter. I hope that my timing proves good and that I get some exceptional shots.
For the few of you who actually read this, thank you. Here is one of my more recent photos.
Well, I’ve been doing a lot this summer to exercise. Every weekday morning I run at least one mile and on weekends I head out to (re)discover sights across western NC. I thought I knew these mountains well, and what I’ve discovered is that I know some areas well but have neglected to spend time across the mountains. So, I’m making up for that this summer (and into the future). I plan on stopping at those sights you see advertised while one drives across the mountains … and I plan on having a lot of fun while doing it.
Below are some photos of the waterfalls I’ve been visiting. The pictures aren’t all great shots, but they do capture the beauty of these mountains. I will be continuing this into the Autumn and even Winter (for the inevitable icy shots). If you ever want to join me, email me!
The roughly one mile hike to Little Bearwallow Falls is not difficult, but the uphill can be strenuous. If you keep going the additional two miles to Wildcat Rock know that it IS strenuous. Immediately when you set out from the Wildcat Rock Trailhead in Gerton, NC, you encounter an apple orchard.
Then, you enter the woods on a clearly marked trail and cross a stream.
Next, get ready for some uphill hiking. But, the reward is the rock wall (you’ll see the waterfall is thin with little water on the day I was there, but the wall itself is great for both rock and ice climbing).
So, this summer I’ve made a decision to get outside .. as much as I can .. to hike and get to know the mountains I knew as a teenager. And, as a benefit, I get to swim in amazing swimming holes and photograph waterfalls. Life is tough…