Wednesday July 6
As I’m writing this post I’m realizing that all I’m posting about is waterfalls. That’s not all I’m doing but it is all I’m doing that isn’t routine or chores or visiting the little towns. I know it doesn’t make for varied reading but this is the land of waterfalls and I’m trying to make hay as the sun shines so to speak.
On this day, I drove 17 miles to hike to both Court House and Chestnut falls and was really looking forward to it as the pictures show them to be lovely falls.
But when I got to the Pisgah National Forest road to turn onto, I found the road closed . It appeared I could hike 3 miles in to the trail head adding 6 miles to my 4 mile hike. Nope. Good thing I didn’t attempt it since I found out later when I stopped at Headwaters Outfitters that in the flooding last fall there had been a landslide that wiped out the road. Seems they could have put a sign there explaining why the road was closed. That there was no road anymore. But I’m not in charge.
So I drove on another 10 miles to the Nantahala National forest road to the trailhead for two Dill Falls. This then required Sweet Ruby, the low to the ground trooper, to drive 5 miles on a one lane narrow gravel forest service road. I was holding my breath hoping no one would come the other way.
The road dead ended into the trail heads which were not marked so if you didn’t have a map, a book or some sort of directions, you would not have a clue. But the positive side is that no one else was there the entire time I was.
My information said the “trail” to the left went to Dill falls and straight ahead went to Upper Dill. More on that later. I went left.
This looked more like a water run off tunnel than a trail to me but I’m here now so on I go.
Once down in, the trail was clearer. But it was still claer that water runs down the middle
I’m so glad to be here at this rhododendron blooming time of year.
A bud in the background and blossoms
When I get there, Dill Falls is definitely worth the trouble.
I’m at the bottom at the edge of the pool but I can zoom in on each section of the falls. These close ups have the feel and action sense of what I experienced
Being alone with a waterfall is so different than having other people around especially if they are talking. The spirituality of the place and moment is lost. That’s why I get out early and choose off the beaten path falls for as many of my hikes as I can.
But no pictures can beat this video for living or reliving being at Dill Falls.
From here I hike back UP to Ruby and then UP over a tall berm apparently bulldozed into what was a forest road to keep vehicles of any kind, including ATVs from being able to go over it. I’m standing on it in this picture looking back to Ruby who patiently waits all alone.
This is also an apparently seldom used trail. Just the way I like them.
A few less obstacles would have been good.
And again, the delight at the end of the trail. I must admit that having a waterfall at trail’s end is my #1 hiking destination preference. But from all these blog posts on hikes to waterfalls, that’s pretty clear.
UPPER DILL FALLS
You can see and listen to Upper Dill Falls here.
On my hike back, the obstacles were a bit less trouble than going up and I took more time to notice if not smell the flowers. I’m sure going to be sad when the blooming season ends. They are like friends on the trail.
THURSDAY JULY 7
The next day, it was going up to 85 here which feels very hot in the humidity of this temperate rain forest.
I’m amazed that there are so many cars here already. Turns out this recreation area is a mecca for mountain biking. The sun is wrecking havoc on my pictures. You can see Ruby in the front right next to the truck with the bikes being set up. I had no idea there were so many early risers but this is obviously a popular place.
I was hoping most of the cars were here for those biking trails rather than for hiking but no such luck. I hiked six miles (14000 steps) to three falls and had none of them to myself. By the time I got back to the parking lot at noon it was over flowing and folks were cruising round and round waiting for someone to leave.
My plan is to hike to High Falls and then on to Triple Falls and Hooker Falls.
There are two entrances to the Dupont State Forest. The other one is closer to Hooker Falls and a lot of people who just want to swim there use it. But I’m taking the High Falls Loop around to all 3 falls so I’m parked at the High Falls Access at the bottom of the map.
The trail head is nicely pebbled and that continues for a bit.
I spy an old friend on the trail, wintergreen, just getting ready to bloom
I took pictures of High Falls from the look out on the way to it. The morning was foggy and the pictures reflect that.
Down at the base of the falls things were better.
Can’t you almost hear the water falling onto and over the rocks?
I love the lacy look of close up waterfall pictures.
Here is a video of High Falls from the base.
I hike on to Triple Falls but could not get this picture of all 3 falls until I left and was further down the trail. I was too close when I was nearer the falls. But I did, of course, get a video.
At the top two falls I could walk out onto the giant rock face.
The upper of Triple Falls.
Notice my rain coat around my waist. In this rainforest area of North Carolina you can never be sure when the nearly daily rains will come.
On I hike to Hooker Falls and find people have come to picnic and swim for the day. But that water is really cold.
Hooker falls was the site of a grist mill in the 1800’s. Ultimately John Hooker bought the property and ran the mill for 30 years. Although he was not the builder or original owner, people began calling it Hooker Falls.
This final video is of Hooker Falls and the people enjoying it today. Look and listen here.
Although the sun was shining right on the nice information board at this location and there was a terrible glare, I was able to get and doctor this picture of the mill at Hook Falls.
Later at the visitor center I saw this picture of a totally different and probably more recent building.
On my return trip, I stopped by an old cemetery which I assume was for the people who once lived on this land. It reminded me of the displacement of the mountain people who settled in what became the Great Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah National Parks. Very sad. Big government at its worse.
Apparently the Moores still live in the area. For the time, Mr. Moore lived a long life and I imagine fought in the civil war though he would have been in his early 50’s.
There were many deteriorated stones and several of these difficult to read markers. This one says Willard Heath 1849 to 1861. At only 12, I hope he was not a war casualty. There was another marker for Graetle Heath 1854 to 1861.
Perhaps it was an epidemic of some sort though children died at early ages from diseases for which we now have vaccinations.
There is no information to tell when this simple marker for Pink Anders was placed here.
The visitor center was not open when I arrived earlier so I stop by before leaving the park. It’s a nice log building with wonderful chairs on the side porch. Perfect for the setting.
Inside, the one room building is light and airy. It’s an inviting space and I spend some time looking at the topographic model on display.
The covered bridge in the lower area is on my agenda for my next visit.
Thought the temperature varies a bit – often in the 70’s and seldom higher than 86, this could be any day’s forecast. Strong chance of rain and low winds.
Before leaving, I sit a spell in the inviting chairs on the lovely porch with woven panels. I will definitely return to Dupont State Forest. There’s another waterfall to see.