Sunday, September 28, 2014

What the Heck are Dry Waterfalls?


Blairsville, Georgia (high 75, low 63)


We got up yesterday with no particular plans. Al has been having a lot of pain in both of his shoulders, so we’ve been playing it by ear.  Of course, we always pretty much play it by ear anyway, making very few advance plans.  That’s one of the biggest advantages of retirement, I think.

Al  has already had three rotator cuff surgeries, two in the right, and one in the left.  He has to be really careful, but somehow he has re-injured both of them. He’s been a little better, and we’re hoping he won’t need another surgery.

After some coffee and computer time, we headed out thinking we’d go have some breakfast, but as usual with us, we ended up on “plan b.”

We had heard that the town of Highlands, North Carolina was an interesting town, with a lot of millionaires and beautiful houses, so we headed that direction, stopping along the way at any interesting looking shops that we found.

We stopped at a shop that sells hand painted gourds, and a lot of other stuff.  Al found a big logging saw blade that he wanted. He plans to have someone paint a some sort of mountain scene on it.

This is one I found on the internet.  This is not the scene we would chose, but you get the idea.  It will go on the front of the cabin.

Buck and Doe Painted Saw Blade by MenterWoodNThings on Etsy.png

We were a little surprised when we got out of the truck and found the temperature only 59 degrees….at noon. Burrrr   It was 10 degrees cooler up there than back in Blairsville.  Guess we should have gone there during the summer.

Once the sun came out, it warmed up, but not too much, and it was a wonderful day for exploring.



We remembered a really good restaurant in Dillard, GA called the Cupboard Cafe, so that was the next stop.  Our meals were as delicious as we had remembered.  It’s a good thing it isn’t any closer than it is.

After lunch, we stopped at one of the local farms for some fresh produce. 

Osage Farms

Osage Farms have great produce, but it is very popular and crowded on a Saturday.  Our goal was for some fresh okra, but when we got there, the huge okra bin was almost empty.  :( 

As we strolled around, we noticed a lady coming in from the field with a big batch of fresh picked okra.   :)  We weren’t the only ones waiting on the okra.

They grow much of the produce right in the fields behind the shop.  There were acres and acres of tomatoes. It was obviously a working farm.

Osage farms, Dillard

We headed over to highway 64 which leads to Highlands, NC, and crossed the GA/NC border.

welcome to North Carolina

Highway 64 is a twisty, sometimes narrow mountain road, with warning signs for truckers.

The motorcyclists loved it.  Us, not so much.   :)


There were some points where there was a very sheer drop off on the passenger side.   You could hear the rushing water as you drove by. 

At one point we passed by what we later found out was Cullasaja Falls. We missed the pull off so only got a glance as we drove by.

from the web

Cullasaja Falls

Cullasaja Falls

“Cullasaja Falls is a series of astounding waterfalls on the Cullasaja River and can only be seen from the road (Hwy 64) that runs between Highlands and Franklin, NC. The pull off is very narrow and is extremely dangerous because of cars driving by. Use extreme caution when getting out viewing this spectacular roadside attraction. Cullasaja Falls have been featured in numerous books and photographs and is worth the stop.
Directions: From down town Highlands, go west on Hwy 64 toward Franklin. Go approximately five miles and the pull-off is on the left. The road is very narrow. There is a rock wall and no place to pull off on the opposite side of the viewing spot. So you may have to go down further to turn around and come back up to safely park on the pull off.”

Highway 64 between Highlands and Franklin North Carolina is very scenic.

We followed the river all along the way, and occasionally there would be a place to get a view of the Cullasaja River and a few small waterfalls.




It was definitely not a road for our motorhome!




The trees are starting to change colors.  We’re hoping for a more spectacular “leaf peeping” event than last year, which wasn’t great due to too much rain.

fall colors

This sign caught my eye.  Jackson Hole?   It was a gem mine.  We didn’t stop, even though we LOVE gem mines!


And since the first gold rush was in nearby Dahlonega, Georgia, it didn’t surprise me to find the Gold Mine Baptist church.

Goldmine Baptist Church 

We could hear rushing water as the road followed the river. Sometimes it became pretty loud.

Soon, we saw a pull off with a sign saying we were at “Dry Falls.”

We were in the Nantahala National Forest.

map of Dry Falls

We could hear the sound of tremendous rushing waters.  Dry Falls?   What could that mean?  

There is a nice parking area and steps down to the falls. 

Our first glimpse.  It looked wet to me. 


The rushing water sounds got louder and louder.

Soon it became apparent why it was named Dry Falls.

Dry Falls, Highlands NC

You can walk behind the falls and stay relatively dry.

Dry Falls, Highlands NC

It was not entirely dry though, and it was a good thing I brought a bag for my camera when I went directly behind the waterfall.


Dry Falls, Highlands NC

The waterfall is 75 foot tall and there is a LOT of rushing water.

There were way too many people, which is to be expected when you go on a Saturday.  We normally don’t do things like this on a week-end, but since this was a spur of the moment thing, we had to deal with the crowds.


Dry Falls, Highlands NC

Dry Falls, Highlands NC

I don’t know where all that water went, because this innocent looking stream is what we saw looking downstream from the falls.

looking down stream from Dry Falls

Back up the stairs, and one last look at this beautiful waterfall.

Dry Falls, Highlands NC

After leaving the falls, we headed towards the town of Highlands.  There were some really nice houses and a few hidden golf country club type places, but nothing much we could see from the road.

On the way home, we stopped at a few scenic overlooks.

This was Blue Valley Overlook.  Pretty, isn’t it?

Blue Valley Overlook, near Highlands NC

Blue Valley Overlook, near Highlands NC

We stopped at a few others overlooks, and they were all pretty.


More signs of the upcoming fall foliage change.

fall color beginning

and more pretty scenery.


We were tired by the time we got home, especially considering we had only planned to go for breakfast.   We must have put well over 200 miles on the truck, but we had a fun day.


We’re going to be lazy today, or maybe do some work around the lot…maybe a combination of both.

Here is Al’s new saw blade.  He has been wanting one for a long time.

October decor at Rivers Edge, sawblade

Here are my fall decorations and flowers.

October decor at Rivers Edge

October decor at Rivers Edge

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Scare on High Shoals Trail


Blairsville, GA (high 78, low 59)


We’ve had a busy few days.  Today, I think will be a stay at home day.  I have laundry to do and a book to finish.  Al, however, has other plans involving lunch.  We’ll see who wins!

We have had visitors from Tampa.  Our friends, Rhonda and William rented a cabin at nearby Vogel State Park  They came up for a short visit after losing their 17 year old dog.  It was their “grief trip.”  Rhonda and I worked together at USAA.

We had lunch and a few happy hours, but mostly we let them explore on their own.  Last year, we played tour guide to all our visitors.  This year, we decided to let visitors do all their own exploring, and we would have a few meals or happy hours with them.  Gas got to be too expensive, and most people prefer to explore on their own.  I know we do.   We never quite know what we want to do, and our exploring is usually on the fly, deciding as we go, so this works out better for everybody.   Al and I do not like to plan ahead.   :)


Rhonda and William

Rhonda and William rented cabin #14 at Vogel.  It was right on the river with a nice “babbling brook” sound.  It was the perfect cabin choice.  The cabin was very nice, with 2 bedrooms, basic cable TV with huge flat screen TV, even a dishwasher and fireplace!  

We had happy hour at our Rv site and twice at their site at Vogel.


On Tuesday, we had our front air conditioner replaced.  

Front AC unit replacement

On Thursday, after some coffee and computer time, we decided to go on a hike.  There are quite a few more waterfall hikes nearby,  and we chose High Shoals Falls.

My trail book, mentioned you would have to “ford” a stream on the way to the trail head.  I was hoping they meant there was a bridge.

There wasn’t.  This was our view when we were driving to the trailhead.

stream crossing on FS road 283 to High Shoals Falls

We got out and checked it out.  It wasn’t very deep and there were nice smooth rocks on the bottom.

stream crossing on FS road 283 to High Shoals Falls

While we were looking, a  man from the Georgia Fisheries service stopped by the stream.  He confirmed the stream was fine to cross and said we had to travel another mile or so to the trail head.

He told us he was taking the water temperature of the stream.  He explained they have sensors in all the local streams and rivers and document the water temperature.   This proves that the water is the correct temperature for trout, so if any city wants to do anything that would affect the waterway, they will have the documentation to stop it. 

We crossed the stream, and drove up a rocky, bumpy and sometimes narrow road to the trailhead.

Along the way, we passed two cars going down. It was a tight squeeze, but we managed.

The first car had 4 kind of grungy looking guys in it.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but later I would.

We parked, and started down the 1.2 mile trail.   It was mostly downhill.

High Shoals Falls Trail

Those darn acorns were there again, but fortunately they were mostly at the beginning.  As careful as I was, I still managed to slip a few times.  Luckily, we stayed on our feet this time.

High Shoals Falls Trail

There was no shortage of things to trip you.

High Shoals Falls Trail

High Shoals Falls Trail

Before long, we came across a campsite.  There was plenty of trash left, along with a lot of broken trees and branches.

High Shoals Falls Trail

Al noticed there was some ice on top of the campfire.  Obviously, it was recently left there.  We assumed it was those guys we had passed coming in.  They must have spent the night, and that is probably why they looked grubby.

Slobs.  I hate people who leave their trash.

I also hate people that feel the need to write their names scribbled on anything they can find.

I think I’m going to post this on Facebook and see if enough people will share it.  Maybe the Greene’s will see it.

graffiti on high falls trail


Soon, we came to our first bridge.  I was relieved to see an actual bridge, because our trail map said we would have to “ford” the river.  I was glad to see something more than a few stones across the river.


Gold has been found in the streams in this area.  The first gold rush was in nearby Dahlonega, Georgia, 30 years before the California gold rush. Occasionally, people still find gold nuggets around here.

From the bridge, we saw a lot of shiny objects.

Al was determined to check things out and see if there were any gold nuggets down there!

Notice the pretty orange rock.

Al looking for gold on High Shoals Falls Trail

We saw a few overturned trees and even checked there for some long covered gold nuggets….just in case.   :)

overturned tree...any gold???

It wasn’t long before we came to a cut off to the first waterfall and “blue hole.”

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

The blue hole showed up a little better in person, but you could definitely see a blue-ish color to the water.

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

The green moss growing along the rocks was pretty.

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

Back on the trail and down to the second waterfall.


It was a beauty, at 175 feet.  You can barely see the start of it at the very top of the picture.

second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

There was a nice viewing platform, with a good spot to lay the camera and get a photo of ourselves.

Karen and Al at  second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

We had lunch, then Al decided to go gold hunting again.

Al gold hunting on second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

Al gold hunting on second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

We decided to head back, and this time it was going to be all uphill.  We made a few detours to walk by the stream…and look for gold.  :)

High Shoals Falls Trail

About half way back to the trail head, Al  (who was quite a ways ahead of me) heard what sounded to him like a car alarm.  He was concerned maybe someone was breaking into our truck, which was parked at a very remote spot in some very remote woods.

He scampered up the mountain like a mountain goat, pausing occasionally to check on me.  I was hurrying as much as I could, but we were going up hill and I needed to catch my breath a few times.

As I was walking back, I had visions of those 4 guys we had passed coming down, at our truck breaking in and stealing our stuff, or our truck.

I started hearing the boom boom sounds, like you hear when someone has a big speaker system in their car.  That certainly concerned me and now thoughts crossed my mind about those 4 guys waiting by the truck ready to murder us when we returned.

Of course, I had just read a passage in my book about some murders on the Appalachian Trail, so that was fresh on my mind.

It’s funny all the things that go through your mind.

We finally made it to the point where we could see the truck.  It was up on the top of the hill, but still there and still shiny with no broken windows that we could see.

We were relieved there was no one there, and no damage to the truck, but it reminded us that we were in a very remote area and anything could have happened.  If those guys had wanted to, they could have certainly come back, and broken into the truck.  They would have seen we were older, known we were going hiking at we would be gone a while and known they would have almost no chance of getting caught.  

It’s a good thing they weren’t inclined to do anything like that.