Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Walkin' to Waterfalls

When I am out riding, I like to try to find some point of interest and incorporate it somehow -- and sometimes write about it here.  This might be precipitated or aided by one of the local tag games, or by a study of maps and Internet sites.  As you might expect, amongst the sights aplenty in the mountains of North and South Carolina are waterfalls. 

Now, when I ride, I always wear all the right stuff to minimize the effects of a tumble from the machine.  This, of course, includes motorcycle-specific boots.

Like the ones on this picture:
North Carolina Route 80.  May 2013.  Rally to Ridgecrest

The boots are fine for riding, and have enough flexibility to shift and brake properly, but they are certainly not very good for walking, and they don't have much tread on the bottom of them.  So, when I am looking for things like waterfalls to go and see, I also try to find some where the walk can be made in my riding boots. 

One such place is Whitewater Falls, a place I have ridden to many times.  The walk to the falls overlook is about 1200 yards, a little uphill all the way on a smooth path. 

Another very accessible waterfall is in nearby downtown Greenville.  It is called Reedy River Falls.  The walk from the on-street parking is only about 200 feet -- and you can go shopping, see a show, or dine in a fine restaurant afterward.

One other falls is so close to the road, you don't have to dismount to get a very close look.  Wildcat Branch is right off SC-11

A grand fall, also visible while sitting in the saddle, is Looking Glass Falls, not far up into North Carolina. 

A few weeks back, I wrote about finding a waterfall that I had not previously seen.  I have made a picture of it for you, but first, a little background on its location.

It is called Reedy Branch Falls (not the same as Reedy River Falls), and the parking lot for it is located right here, at Pushpin C. 

To get there from Westminster, SC, take US-76 for about 15 miles north.

The small gravel lot is just north of Chattooga Ridge Road; on the left side after a right hand curve that heads toward the northwest.

That road curve, on the left in the photo above, is the main road from the south, the way I came.  Note the flat rock wall on the right, and gate posts behind the bike.  Those are the only signs to tell you that you have arrived.  There is no written sign announcing the falls.  This makes you think it is private property, but it is actually owned by you and me through the U.S. Forest Service. 

Beyond the locked gate that forbids motorcycles and other motorized traffic, is a dirt single-lane road leading gently down hill. 
The land was to have been developed for housing, and there are a few electrical boxes along the road remaining from that time. 

Just before you get to this collapsed bridge, ...

...turn left, and walk a little further -- about 300 yards all told.  You are rewarded by the sight of this nice falls, Reedy Branch, a 30' tall cascade. 

There is no one else around today, and, the only sound is the music of the water and the birds.  There is no man-made noise at all, the highway being just far enough away that the trees and brush muffle its sound effectively.  I spend a few minutes here watching the water cascading down the rocky face of the gorge. 

I found this falls thanks to a very nice website maintained by Allen Easler.  Mr. Easler has documented most of the waterfalls, large and small, in the mountains of South Carolina, and western North Carolina. His writeup of this falls is here, on his website. 

If you are a fisherman and were to follow the road a ways beyond the collapsed bridge, you would come upon Burson Lake, visible in the lower left of the first map. I walk that way a little, but the boots are starting to aggravate my tender little toes, so I turn back. 

Surprisingly, I find myself huffing and puffing getting back up that "gentle" hill -- it must be steeper than it felt coming down here.  I make it just fine, though, and prepare to continue on my ride today. 

My complete route for the day, just 107 miles, but along some interesting roads.


Mr. Easler has provided this list of area waterfalls with short walks/hikes.
(I have visited the ones marked with * along with a link to it's blog posting):



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