Historic Johnson Farms, WaterFALLing in HSF, shoulder@6 months and Florence


I think I’ve been to Historic Johnson Farms three times now but the first two were during their spring festival event. It’s open when the schools are open to the public to walk around for free and I met a photographer friend there to walk and shoot. 

I may go back during the festival or pay the $5 bucks to go in the homes again at some point because there was a staircase I would like to shoot again and they had horses 🙂 I had a good time but I really should’ve put bug spray on twice because I got ate up with the one layer of spray I did have on.

I ended up with some sort of bug or virus a few days later that made me hurt all over, I was stiff, my joints were painful and I could’ve just slept all day and night. Thankfully the painful part only lasted 3 or 4 days and I gradually got my energy back. I was hoping I didn’t have some weird mosquito or tick virus because I didn’t feel like I had a cold. I made a mental note to slather myself with more bug spray next time!

We heard reports of a Bald Eagle being in our part of the woods and we went for a drive to see if we were lucky enough to spot it. Sadly we were not, but I did get a picture of a buzzard and we saw a large hawk. I’d try again but not sure anyone else wants to go sit wait and hope with me and if I miss him, well I’ll just have to go to Alaska.

thistle 09-10-2018_-2-sm.jpg

Headwaters State Forest says it won’t become overcrowded like Dupont and will remain undeveloped, with a primitive setting. Cell phone service is non-existent – even my husband’s old flip phone that often works when mine won’t, didn’t even have a signal. I read on Rich Stevenson’s NCWaterfalls.com site that they do plan an actual trail to Reece Falls. Kevin Adams site says he’ll be updating the falls in HSF soon.

There was a visible trail to East Fork Falls and Gravely Falls. We went after a rain so the ground was slick with pine needles, fallen leaves and mud. Both are very foresty so the more leaves that are on the ground the worse slipping will be.

HSF trail to Graveley Falls 09-10-2018_-sm.jpg

I guess they’ll get around to their signage all saying the same thing. Yes, do come in here we gave you a green hiking sign at the start of the trailhead, no wait,  don’t enter signs a few feet in front sends quite the mixed message.

We did Graveley Falls first. It looks like a vehicle had been in not too long before us as there were new tire tracks in the mud. Also, someone had been clipping branches out of the road/trail and the parts laying on the ground were still green.

You can get to the top of the falls easily and there is a pretty arch of rhododendrons or laurels over the water to your right, upstream from the falls. When we were there was a mist was rising just above the water. We just stayed back from the edge but took a peak since that’s where the trail took us.

HSF Graveley Falls 09-10-2018 11.42.16-sm

The base of the falls is fairly easy to get to, even that last little steep part at the end of the trail where one or two people who like each other could stand on the rock without wading into the shallow water.

HSF Graveley Falls 09-10-2018 11.36.56-sm

If you stay on the trail without going down at the base there is a peekaboo look thru the trees right on the easily accessible trail. I like the framing the branches made. If we would’ve stopped after those two spots I would’ve thought more highly of Gravely Falls… BUT we didn’t.

video here https://youtu.be/Dqmd9hks6WA

The spot at the base of the falls the water looked fairly calm for the amount coming over the falls. The area looked sandy and shallow enough to wade out if you wanted to and fairly safe as long as you stayed away from where it narrowed into the about a two-foot section and picked up speed in like a miniature sliding rock.

HSF Graveley Falls 09-10-2018 11.50.02-sm

I’ve got knots, bruises and scuffs from trying to see if from a lower vantage point… horrible idea going down that moss covered wet rock there on the right in the picture above. I read the rock was slippery and in the blink of an eye, I went from standing, to on my butt sliding down the rock. I couldn’t get up. It hurt my darn shoulder when I fell because I reached out and grabbed my hubby, but all I did was jerk my arm because I couldn’t stop myself. Thankfully I didn’t pull him down with me. It hurt bad enough I just sat on moss and leaf covered rock with a steady stream of water running over it and under me with my shorts and shirt just soaking up water. I tried to put my hands on the rock and lift my butt up and scoot since I was already soaking wet but my shoulder can’t do that. I saw some sort of small salamander or tadpole, no wider than a sharpie marker line, and I hoped I hadn’t just landed on his family. Despite knowing I couldn’t pull myself up with my right arm I still reached out for branches because at some point I needed to get up and quit falling and sliding back down. Sadly it was a big briar instead of a branch. I somehow even managed to scratch up and bruise the front of me too. I’m getting so frustrated with this shoulder, but in hindsight, I did know better and should’ve been happy with seeing it from the other two spots!

Graveley idea 3-sm.jpg

I spent more time on the ground at Gravely than any waterfall I’ve been to yet and came to the conclusion they should make hiking boots with suction cups on the bottom. I had completely wet shorts and up my shirt, plus what I’d done to body and shoulder, but I didn’t have to try to see it from the very bottom either! On Stevenson’s video they somehow crossed and filmed from the other side of the narrow rushing part across from the slick rock. Maybe it hadn’t just rained when they went or they crossed over at the calm water at the higher up at the base of the falls and walked down land? When I go again I’ll plan on stopping there, bringing water shoes and my taller tripod. I either used my 3″ tripod if I could set it on the ground or just handheld but I couldn’t get any silkier water without a tripod.

Now being muddy and soaking wet (I mean I was tempted to take off my shorts and wring them out) I did get to try my new waterproof Bravo Brand Pocket Blanket even if I’ll never figure out how to roll it back up like it arrived. I bought to cover my non-waterproof camera bag (all camera bags should be waterproof IMO) so at least I didn’t mess up my car seats. I was grateful that I keep ibuprofen in the car too. If it didn’t hurt so bad I bet it was actually comical because I really couldn’t stand up and take a step. I don’t know if hubby’s boots are that much better than mine, or if it has to do with him keeping his weight ON his feet better than me.

 HSF East Fork Falls 09-10-2018  12.27.55-sm.jpg

East Fork Falls said it was the easiest to get to- and yes these are easier to get to then some of the waterfalls I’ve been to, and you’ve got to remember I’m looking at all these trails with new eyes since using my arm/shoulder is a problem for scrambling much of anywhere. There was one short section on the trail that was steep and you had to land your next footstep on a root. Then again I was still shaken and sore from my multiple falls at Graveley. Without going out in the water that I think quickly became deeper than my short legs are long, our view was partially blocked on the left by a big rock. I read you could go out on the rock in the water but I didn’t really trust any rocks at this point and I didn’t have my tall tripod with me anyway. I saw pictures from Stevenson’s site from farther down the falls looking up past the cascades to the falls but didn’t see where he went to get those unless he crossed all the way over the water and went downstream a bit. When I re-watched his video after being there I think he indeed did just that.

Reece Place Falls sounds off limits more now that the Headwaters State Forest has been officially opened than it was before the opening. I’ll keep this one on my list after some work is done on the trail because it looks like something I’d love to see.

This Breavard site states “More than 25 waterfalls and 60 miles of mountain streams” https://lookingglassbrevard.com/headwaters-state-forest/ but I’m thinking no one but them thinks there are 25.

My shoulder at 6 months is doing better than it was for the most part when I don’t wretch it like in the above outing. I think the changes Dr. Hall had me made and giving it the rest with no lifting of more than a pound, actually helped. My shoulder seems to be doing better than my collarbone, top of my shoulder, up the side of my neck and my bicep. My bicep has hurt from the beginning and I’m having a hard time believing it’s just pain radiating from my shoulder. I’m so sick of doing the exercises – all of them. I may have just a tad more mobility but I’m still a long way from my right arm moving as far as my left especially with external rotation.

I moved my follow up with Dr. Hall to give myself more time as not enough has changed for me to go to my Sept. 20th appointment. The bills are all rolling in too and EmergeOrhto was overpaid by me from what insurance said was due and even though they’ve had my money for over 6 months I’m having a hard time getting them to give me back the overpayment so I can pay others. The cost of this shoulder is absurd plus we had Tyler’s echocardiogram so this year has been costly in money. Actually with my shoulder and Trinity’s death this year this has not been one of the best years. I guess you have to take the bad with the good ones.

I keep wondering how different this whole experience would’ve been if I hadn’t been given terrible post instructions from the surgeon (not Dr. Hall).

One day I think it’s doing better and I envision a healed up pain-free future and then out of the blue I’ll wake up with it aching terribly just from sleeping or I’ll go to do something and it will stab me with a sharp pain. I wonder how long it will be before I can pick up something like the weight I used to lift or when I can use my photo backpack, or when I’ll be able to pull myself up or help lower myself down a trail or pick my siting weight up to scoot over or even pass a plate to my right. It still aches if my arm hangs too long so if I’m walking it’s gotta go in my pocket for support and if I’m sitting somewhere other than at home where I can move it on and off the arm it aches. Like at CCoH and they’ve now started asking everyone to move chairs at the end. I know people wonder why someone that looks healthy isn’t moving a chair but I’m not messing it up for that, plus it already hurts from hanging there during the meeting. Maybe I should take a little pillow or they could ask if people are able to, to please move the chairs. A guy in front of me last time just had back surgery. He probably didn’t want to mess himself up either.

Not being able to lift a gallon of milk seems so – old, weak and frail!


Florence has started it’s slow water pumping spin toward us here in WNC. I don’t think we are going to feel any of the effects until probably Sunday and for us, it will be mostly a rain and flooding event. I’ve got plenty of computer work to do and picked up three books to read in case we lose power. I’ve picked up cat food and have soup on the menu for us that we can warm up on the gas stove. We don’t have many big trees so gutters are okay. As much as I take photos I still need to go around the house inside and out and take photos just in case for insurance, oh and I still want to fill the birdfeeders.

Yesterday our area declared a state of emergency, parks and the parkway and various trails are closing, and we are running out of gas around town. Are you prepared for you AND your pets?

Here in Western NC we saw more than our fair share of rain, mudslides and flooding earlier this year and the models show us getting more of that again. I pray Florence isn’t as bad as expected, and that no lives are lost. Our prayers go out to all furry and human, in the hurricane’s path including all the workers who put themselves in harm’s way for others. Every hurricane you hear them on the news saying they will not rescue people. People don’t leave. People are rescued. What are people thinking that stay and then want to be rescued, putting others lives at risk.  It’s like telling a child something and not following through. They learn they don’t have to abide by the rules because the consequences don’t apply. Now I am NOT talking about people unable to leave like in hospitals, nursing homes, or prisons, I’m talking about people that say if it’s there time to go they’ll ride out the storm then endanger the lives of others wanting to be saved when they refused to evacuate.

I’m not sure how this will affect the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon NC. I hope all the animals, riders and people will be okay.  I know from a friend that they didn’t pay the contract labour that worked on the grounds timely (without threat of a lawsuit and having to hire a lawyer after being many months overdue) and I’m wondering if they lose money on the games how many workers will never see what is owed to them?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s