Pisgah and the BRP. Skinny Dip Falls, Fryingpan Tower and Cradle of Foresty.

Hubby cut off work a little early one day this month and we ate dinner out, a rarity for us, at Hawg Wild in Pisgah Forest. Then to Skinny Dip Falls.

Hubby has never been to this waterfall, and I’ve only been once after a sunrise with my friend June. June, just an FYI, he was impressed again with the places you’ll hike with me. 🙂

Skinny Dip Falls 06-13-2019 18.27.18-sm

It was probably 75° when we left. It was 57° on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had loaded up my Mindshift backpack this time and off we went. There was We past the “dragon” tree, and a group of kids that in unison hollered out something about having a “rock solid day” when we passed both times. When we got to the falls there were people on the rocks. The light was better in the evening without hot spots from early, (really early) sun but I don’t like people in my shots and I didn’t take the time to edit them out very well. The guy held his puppy up under the arms like he was going to drop it in the water. I was already thinking rescuing the puppy and having to beat him with my tripod, but he just sang out something I couldn’t decipher and set him back on the rocks.

So as I’m typing this Tyler is just snoring away. My guys 🙂

Hubby asked me when we got there if I had shot from the vantage point by going out on the rocks downstream. Nope, I had not but with him lending a hand I did. It’d still be easier to just take off my shoes and wade out than rock hop but we wanted to get to stop number two so I just took his hand and went out.  Now, I did leave my hubby shaking his head at how I got back to the edge. He could just step across and I had to jump with both feet and with the 20# backpack on, let’s just say it was not pretty. We walked over the bridge and up the trail just a bit before turning back. I saw the MST and had read you could get to Yellowstone Falls from here somehow but we I had planned to catch the sunset from FryingPan watchtower.

Down to 53° back at the parking area, 375′ below the tower, I decided to pack my sweat jacket in my pack instead of wearing it. Almost up the uphill all the way trail to FryingPan tower we could see a guy coming back down from the taller-than-Fryingpan communications tower that is in front of the lookout tower. We’d heard him hoopin and hollering (for you non-southerners, that means yelling) and then hubby spotted him climbing back down.

Fryingpan Tower 06-13-2019  19.58.32-sm.jpg

We assumed it was a bunch of guys and either a dare of alcohol involved dare, I mean why else would you climb a tower? The guy was by himself and looked to be in his early twenties or late teens. What if he fell? How long would it have been before someone saw him splattered on the ground below? It was foot pegs for cryin out loud! and the wind was wiping where we stood and he was probably 20′ above us on the Fryingpan tower platform and that’s just when we rounded the corner. I have no idea how high up he’d climbed. I guess we all go through the stage of feeling invisible.

Fryingpan Tower at sunset 06-13-2019  20.53.12-sm.jpg

We didn’t pass much along the trail except for some white spikey flowers. I took a pic with my cell after dark. Wish I’d taken one on the way up or used my real camera. I don’t know what they are.

FryingPan Tower is 70′ tall and is on top of Fryingpan mountain at 5,340-ft. Our phone elevation app didn’t agree and didn’t say it was that tall, but we didn’t remember to look until we had started back down a bit. I’d read that dogs were allowed on a leash but that several dogs had to be carried back down the tower steps. I don’t doubt it but there is no way I could’ve carried a dog AND held on the rails with both hands. Unfortunately, the top is locked 😦 Probably to prevent more graffiti and overnight stays. The first set of steps was the wobbliest (is that a word?, probably not), the most wobbly anyway. The wind was bad enough I took off the new Fur Mom hat that my mom gave me so it wouldn’t blow off. We climbed. Just like bridges I couldn’t be on the same section with hubby because of the movement making me sick. Turns out the wind was wiping so strong that it rocked the tower even when we were not moving on the same sections at the same time. Some of the flat landings between the steps flexed up and down. My stomach went to my throat and that unsteady motion sickness feeling hit. After wanting to go, and walking up there for sunset I really wanted to shoot from the tower. I couldn’t let go of the railing but I needed my backpack off to get my jacket out and put it on. It was cold and the wind was ridiculous. Hubby estimated 40 – 50 MPH winds. I’m not a good gauge of that but I can tell you that my lens cap has never ever blown out 90° ways on its strap before. I took a video. Can’t show you because I didn’t have the button pressed like I thought. Probably would’ve made you sick though because I handheld with one hand, turned a 360, while holding on to the railing with my other hand. Stuff happens. However, I did capture a 20-second clip that I didn’t mean to capture :O

Here are a few videos that are better than mine would’ve been anyway.
https://www.hdcarolina.com/episode/fryingpan-lookout-tower
This one makes me think it’s often windy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcEvRNhg7as

Fryingpan Tower 06-13-2019  20.28.35-sm.jpg

You can see Mt. Pisgah is just 2.5 miles north, and I hear there are trails if you prefer to walk between them. I don’t. Which if you go back to my post from Mt Pisgah you can see my photo of Fryingpan tower from it.

I shot for a few minutes but just couldn’t stay up there for another 30 minutes and other people had started arriving too. I knew there was no way I could come back down the steps in the dark. Hubby sinuses or the wind was hurting his ears and making him dizzy even though heights nor motion don’t bother him.

So much for my planned sunset pics from the tower. We walked around the side of a little building where the weeds had been cut lower. Turns out they have a camera in the building pointing toward the sunset too, which means if that’s a live feed, people saw us too. Hi 🙂 The sunset colors straight out of the camera in RAW, were so vivid my photos looked like I’d cranked the saturation up to 100%. God sure can paint what He created absolutely beautifully. I even got one with a bird flying.

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I had carried multiple lights to light up the tower, do long exposures with light travel or light painting on the tower. I carried my tripod, lens ball, compass and a blanket to sit on, in the field I had pictured in my head, while we waited for sunset and stars. I felt so off, like I’d been on a boat, I didn’t even get my tripod off my back to do a long exposure of the clouds blowing by. I carried it all back down unused except for trying the clip on the Litra camera as a flashlight.

The wind and the wobble and the surroundings all kinda took me by surprise. I don’t love open steps but the rocking motion made me wish I’d taken a Dramamine before climbing the steps.  I don’t really see this one or Pisgah as a do again anytime soon. I would like to know if the bald we could see looking West is the Shining Rock Wilderness area or Black Balsam Knob Mountain?

I was inspired by these three images:
Yes, click the link! I can’t show the image and link it but after being on those wobbly steps I have even more appreciation for this shot. Kevin Adams photo is AWESOME!
https://kevinadams.smugmug.com/NightScapes/i-BHZ8TJc/A
and these two

https://ashevilletrails.com/blue-ridge-parkway/fryingpan-mountain-tower-trail/
https://medium.com/@jonathanfarberphd/best-hikes-in-asheville-nc-f91e1ce75f66

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I tried to get a shot of the tower once we left when I asked hubby to drive back through Fryingpan tunnel, which I took a photo of that while he was driving too, but this particular time I had not checked my fuel in my car and it was low, so he was hurrying me along. Back at my car, the temps had dropped into the 40’s. Good thing it’s downhill all the way to a gas station.

We’d been to Cradle of Forestry for the Blue Ghost fireflies and I had gone back with June to see the buildings earlier in the month. She shared her park pass with me and we spent the morning discovering the buildings and train. I’d never been or if I had as a kid, I don’t recall it. We did two of the three trails before lunch. Forgot to clone out the tripod.

 

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2 thoughts on “Pisgah and the BRP. Skinny Dip Falls, Fryingpan Tower and Cradle of Foresty.

    1. KiM Post author

      Tower was actually one of the easier things we’ve done, if only the wind hadn’t made me seasick on it. BTW if you do Green Knob Tower watch your fingertips if you hold the rail. It’s got pokey metal!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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