This is my Photo Blog detailing my adventures into the world. From exploring the waterfalls, mountains, and the beauty that is Western North Carolina, urban exploration, to anywhere my lens takes me across the country. Also visit my site The Digital Mirage

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pearson Falls and Little Bradley Falls NC 09/22/2007

Today we struck out together and headed out to Pearson Falls on the recommendations of several people. Pearson Falls is located just outside Saluda NC off of 176. It is privately owned land and we were charged $3 per person to enter the area. A nice lady came down from a cabin to a little stand and took our money and welcomed us to the falls. We parked in a tiny gravel parking area around the same time a busload of church kids unloaded and filled the serene forest with echoing shouts and screams. We double timed it up the trail before they could get a start! The well maintained trail led up a creek and crossed over a quaint little stone bridge. Not more than 3/10ths of a mile up we reached the falls. Pearson Falls is a beautiful multilevel cascading falls about 75 feet high coming off the colt river. Several other people were there but I set up shop on a large flat rock and started shooting. (Remember you can click on ANY of the photos here for a large version!)

I used my new darker neutral density filter which allowed me to get 6-10 second exposures without blowing out the shot. The longer exposures allowed me to create that very nice "silky" smooth water look. The kids soon invaded our peacefulness and for about 5 minutes I guarded my tripod while they ran around asking questions. I moved my 'post' out onto a rock in the middle of the stream to get a few more shots. While I shot the falls Nicole found a fuzzy caterpillar crawling up her pants and amused herself with it for a while!

After we had our fill we packed up and went back to the car (While "collecting" a few warning sign shots).

We broke out the book to find out where we wanted to go next. We decided on Bradley Falls which looked to be only about 15 min from Pearson Falls and headed out. We stopped at a little cider shop on the side of the road and purchased a big jug of "peach cider" (have not tasted it yet) and asked a nice down home looking man for exact directions to the road we needed and were on our way.

We made our way to the trail head for Bradley Falls and after talking to some other hikers we decided not to hike to the falls as the water flow was low and would not lend itself to a good shot. Looking back in the book we found Little Bradley Falls and drove back up the road a half mile to the area the book said led to the trail. When we parked the car on the very narrow shoulder we looked down the VERY steep embankment beside us that was covered with large dumped rocks to prevent washing out and we changed our mind about climbing down that way. So we went back again to the Bradley Falls trail head and found Cove Creek that led up to Little Bradley Falls and began our hike there.

As we began we met a couple with a beautiful husky that was loaded up with a doggie pack to carry their stuff! (Need to get me one of those!) we led ahead of them for a short time until we met two guys who also donned camera holding hiking backpacks. Together we attempted to find the trail which was not marked and pretty much consisted of bush whacking our way along the side of the creek. On three occasions we had to cross the creek by rock hopping and balancing on less than steady rocks. At one point I inevitably slipped and found myself standing with both feet in calf-deep water.

We continued on with soggy shoes and a less than happy Walter. Finally we passed the very steep rocky hill we had looked down on earlier. The falls were not much further. We were the first couple to the falls and went ahead and took what I thought was the best spot to shoot from. I took a bunch of shots from different angles here. Little Bradley Falls is a multilevel cascade about 40 feet high.

After chatting with the two other photographers about their setups and techniques we sat and enjoyed the falls before packing up. We were the last couple to leave and as we came back to the steep rocky area we saw the two guys climbing about halfway up. Knowing how many more creeks and slippery rocks we would have to cross we decided to follow suit and began climbing up the rocks.

Notice my awesome camera-hiking-backpack with the special tripod holder!

Only about 50% of the rocks on this steep grade were stable. A few times my weight sent a cascade of rocks rolling down below. After about 10 minutes of this pretty dangerous climb we neared the top and one of the guys stuck out his walking stick to help pull us up the last 10 feet. We walked the last half mile back to the car.

On the way back to the interstate we stopped and a little roadside stand a bought some boiled peanuts. As I was making my purchase I heard someone ask "How was Bradley falls?" I turned around and the cider guy from earlier was also at this stand! Weird... A nice hot cup of salty boiled peanuts was the perfect way to end this day!

Here is some viedo from Pearson Falls!

And a quick one of Little Bradley:

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About Me

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Hendersonville, NC, United States
Check out my professional photography site at The Digital Mirage I post also my photos over at Flickr! Check them out