Pretty sure all my friends know I’m directionally challenged and if June didn’t know that – she does now.
So hubby said we could go interstate or highway 176 to find Melrose Falls. We chose 176. BUT even though I did hear him say Melrose falls was past Pearson falls we took 176 then I still gave the wrong directions to turn left on Ozone dr. Thankfully after driving around for a bit, a Polk County Sherrif was pulling out of a road and we flagged him down. Turns out I was following Adams book from the interstate and we should’ve just passed Ozone Dr. The officer said the small 2 car pull off was between twin bridges. Got it, I can navigate by landmarks. The plan was to see Melrose falls before Pearson falls gate opened.
My mistake made us get a late start and then from the rock outcropping we couldn’t see much and what we did see had too much contrast between sun and shade. When you stand on the rock outcropping you are about even with or across from the big rock in the falls that is halfway up the falls in Adams photo.
It was so darn hot and I don’t think June, my hiker, photographer friend was really enjoying all the up and downs over roots and thru water. My shoulder had started aching and it just wasn’t worth it for us that day to try to explore a better vantage point. I took a video but forgot to take it off manual focus so it’s all blurry. I’m still sharing because you can still get an idea of what you see if you hold your camera (with the strap of course) out over the rock you are standing on). I didn’t even use my tripod after carrying it to the falls so no longer exposures on this one. I got frustrated when trying to video because the dial had gotten turned and it kept doing a time-lapse sequence instead of a video. It took me several minutes standing as close to the edge of the rock as I was comfortable doing, hot and sweaty with a yellow jacket near me to see the problem.
I may read more about what it takes to go to the bottom where Kevin Adams (second) photo in his book looks like it was taken from- and go when it’s cooler. Or after reading more, I may just enjoy Adams photo as I know he is more devout at getting in the right place to get his shots even if it means wading rivers, crawling thru poison ivy and bushwhacking. This is yet another waterfall that has seen serious injury from falls. We saw no other people, just one fresh shoe print, a billion bugs all attracted to my buzzing in my ears, tons of millipede looking bugs and poison ivy, slide and water damaged areas and fallen trees (see above photo), a few unopened (I think) trilliums, one turtle and I got up close and personal with lots of spider webs. I think the millipede was a pheloria virginiensis that omits cyanide. Glad I didn’t handle it. On the turtle, I think it is a juvenile box turtle or a hatchling bog turtle. June saw lots of slugs that I missed seeing. I’ll blame it on all the spider webs and looking for snakes and bears.
While on the rock cropping I saw a yellow jacket and after just getting stung last week I had to remind myself to take my time getting back off the rock. I never did see the railroad trestle at the top. I did learn something after that yellow jacket followed me flailing and running around the front of the house to sting me… the clay face mask do help take some of the fire out. I think I did it 3 or 4 times. Didn’t help with the itch but it did with the heat.
When we did get to Pearson Falls it was the most crowded I’d ever seen it. At the lower falls, I never did have a shot showing both falls with at least legs in the photo. I tried shots from one new area I’ve never shot from and some with my lens ball, some tight shots to get just water. I forgot to video, so here’s an older one from 2014.
It was so much cooler at the base of the main waterfall, which surprisingly we had to ourselves most of the time. I wouldn’t have thought that possible with all the cars. I was so hot and thirsty (yes, I forgot my water) that I wanted to just lay down in the river. My clothes were already soaked in sweat so it wouldn’t have looked that different. I refrained since we were going to eat lunch when we finished. The hot spots of sun on the water were at full glare at high noon when we got there so I didn’t come away with any shots that I liked better than past ones I’ve shot from the same spots.
I’ve shot this one several times and always want to see a waterfall I’ve already seen in a new season or view, simply because there are so many I’ve yet to see. Since Melrose was pretty much a let down for us on this day I said I’d go back to Pearson again in fall or winter. As many times as I’ve been there I think it’s always been spring or summer except maybe one time with my mom when it was cold enough we had on jackets and gloves… then again in Western NC – that could’ve still been spring or fall.
Both of these are Saluda area falls had considerable more trees and debris from the recent flooding, there were whole trees caught in the rocks at Melrose falls.
I recently read about another waterfaller, by the name of Jennifer Loow. She sounds like she is as serious a hiker as Kevin Adams. Jennifer, if you happen to be reading this and have a link to your (not personal) social accounts please post it.
Both Jennifer and Kevin hike harder trails (and off trails) that you probably would have found me on before my shoulder problems and that you won’t see me on anytime soon. It will be a long time at the rate my shoulder is going before I do any Kevin rates over a 6 or so. I’m not fond of creek wading, rock hopping, scrambling or bushwhacking.
I still need to look into a reliable GPS – mostly for distance so I know when to take the correct trail and I’d still like to know if a Fitbit would do the trick?
After reading that Kevin has seen over 1000 and Jennifer near 700 it makes me wonder how many I’ve seen. I’ve never counted. I mentioned this to my hubby who replied “all of them, you’ve seen all of them” 🙂 But yet he swears he enjoys spending time together in the woods hiking to them. I’m wondering if it’s more a “well, my not in shape wife with no sense of direction wants to see them and I don’t want her going alone”.