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Dry Falls near Highlands, NC

I spent several days in early June in the mountains of Western North Carolina chasing waterfalls with good friend and fellow amateur photographer Lew Brown.  The first stop was Saluda, NC for a cup of coffee and a few warm up images of the historic downtown.  Then it was on to our first waterfalls, Pearsons Falls, just a few minutes outside of Saluda.  The Tryon Garden Club manages Pearsons which opens at 10:00 AM.  While we waited for the gates to open, we tested our slow shutter speeds for silky waters on Colt’s Creek which crosses Pearsons Falls Road and also supplies water for the falls.  The Cascading Pearsons Falls, approximately 75 feet high, is rated an 8 on a beauty scale of 1 to 10 in Kevin Adams’ North Carolina Waterfalls.  The trail to the falls runs along Colt’s Creek and is easily accessible.  An excellent beginning to our waterfalls chase.

The second falls on our list was Rainbow Falls near Lake Toxaway.  We were in for an awakening, both rude and awesome.  The trail began from the parking area of Gorges State Park and followed the Horsepasture River and a tough 1.5 miles later ended at the falls located in the Nantahala National Forest.  Kevin Adams rates the 125 foot vertical cascade as a 10, the beauty, setting and size of the falls certainly deserves the rating.  It gets my highest “awesome” rating of the trip.  The falls has a couple of excellent viewing areas.  The trail provides a view from mid-falls and is a good place to photograph the falls.  There is a small vertical trail from the mid view trail to the bottom of the falls.  My friend Lew made the trip down, I watched.  We spent approximately 3 hours here with more than half hiking the trail to and from the falls. AWESOME waterfalls!

Most of our days were spent in and around Highlands and Cashiers, NC.  We actually stayed in Dillard, GA, 18 miles south of Highlands.  Just outside Highlands is Bridal Veil Falls, a 40 foot free fall that can be viewed from the roadside.  Actually the old Highway #64 goes behind the falls and provides access to drive a car behind the falls.

Our final falls of the trip was Dry Falls, a free fall and cascades at the bottom for a total of 65 feet located just down the road from Bridal Veil.  Kevin Adams rates the falls and eight and the trail difficulty a four.  Steps lead from the parking area to the base of the falls were a hand railed walkway leads under the falls and around to the other side.  Photo opps are available as you descend the steps plus from the walkway on both sides of the falls.  The falls are great fun for a photographer as there are so many image opportunities.  It is hard to get your fill of all the views.  The walkway can be seen in the photo above.

In addition to the falls, there were plenty of photo opportunities of urban and rural mountain life as we drove 580 miles round trip.  On the last morning we left Dillard, GA at 4:30 AM to catch sunrise from Wayah Bald, a 5,385 foot high bald mountain outside of Franklin, NC. Again an incredible sight with the sun coming up over the fog covered valleys.

Images of the falls, mountain life and sunrise can be seen on my photography website http://www.erniekale.com.  Photos of the trip are in the Galleries entitled “Recent Images, North Carolina Waterfalls”, “Mountain Magic” and “Voices from the Past”.  I would be honored if you signed my website guestbook.

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