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

Adorama "TechTock" interview with The Digital Mirage's Walter Arnold

Adorama's Jack Howard (Author of "Practical HDRi") interviews me about my photography, techniques, workflow and other tips and tricks.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cathy's Creek NC 09/23/2007

I got the urge to go out again today! Even though my legs were still sore from the Pearson and Little Bradley Falls hikes yesterday, I wanted more! So while Nicole was shopping in Asheville I headed out past brevard to Cathy's Creek to check out the falls there. According to the book there was only a 100 yard hike down a very steep level 8 trail. I figured it would be a quick trip. I followed the dirt road off of 64 for about 3 miles to a pull off described in the book and donned my pack. I was in the middle of nowhere! I had not passed a single car on this one lane dirt road and could hear no cars or anything except the forest, it was great!

I could not find a discernible path from the pull off but the forest was passable down the steep embankment and I could hear rushing water from where I was so I started down the ravine towards the sound of the water. The embankment turned VERY steep very quick. no more than 20 feet down and I was side steeping very slowly. The very loose earth crumbled under my feet and the brush suddenly got very thick. This most certainly was not a trail of any kind let alone the one from the book. Since I knew I could not be that far off from the falls I figured I would continue down and just hike up along the creek to the falls and take some pictures there and then take the real trail back up and walk back down the road to my car.

Still side stepping down the embankment a small 7 inch in diameter tree that I leaned against for balance suddenly gave way and toppled down the hill! I quickly lost my balance and slid (luckily) on my butt about 20 yards down a very steep part of the hill. At this point I was a bit shaken and thought it best to go back to the car and find the real trail, but much to my dismay I found that the steep part I just slid down combined with the very loose earth mad it almost impossible to climb back up. Where I stood the forest was so dense around me that the only way was down to the stream.

I made it to the stream and I could not see the falls from where I was so I started to make my way upstream. After attempting (unsuccessfully) to navigate through the very dense brush on either side of the creek I decided to get my feet wet and wade upstream. This consisted of wading about knee deep through pools and on and off slippery moss covered rocks. As I made my way up I stopped at about 2-3 places and took a few shots of the creek and a few very small cascades.

After about an hour I had gone about 0.3 miles (hey I was walking up stream taking pictures trying not to fall!!!) I saw up ahead the falls! But as I neared the area I could see that the falls and the area around them tapered into a very small quickly rushing stream of water that emerged from between 3 giant rocks that jutted out from the solid rock ravine walls into the middle of the stream, completely preventing me from navigating through them. Looking to either side of me the steepness of the sheer rock walls and then the density of the forest at the top of the 10 foot rocks was so great that I did not think I could pass. I did find an area near these rock that looked like I could climb up about 10 feet or so but all the small footholds looked like they went deep into the rocks and all I could think about were rattlesnakes!

I stood there baffled as to what I should do. I could risk climbing the rocks and possibly falling or risking snakes, or I could trek BACK down the creek another 0.3 of a mile (Which is a long hike up a slippery creek!) to try again to climb out of the ravine. After thinking about this for a few minutes I decided that since I was alone I would do the safe thing and go back down the creek until I could find an area that looked like I could climb back out...

About 30 minutes later I neared what looked like the area which I had descended. Several attempts to negotiate the climb out were unsuccessful. At this point I was freaking out that I might be in trouble! After gaining my cool I decided that I would "sprint" up the embankment. I launched myself upward as hard as I could, scrambling with all fours against the crumbling earth to a small sapling tree about 20 feet up, where I pulled myself up and rested. I did this repeatedly for about 10 minutes, scramble...grab until after about 80 yards I was near the top. My legs were so exhausted at this point they were shaking and I felt like I was going to hyperventilate! I made it the last 30 feet and stumbled to my car and collapsed. After about 2 bottles of water and 15 minutes of rest I figured I would at least drive the remaining .3 of a mile to see where i SHOULD have pulled off.

Sure enough there was another pull off just up the road with a definite trail leading down. At this point I was so exhausted, there was no way I was going down there. I drove back home a little discouraged and completely wiped out! At least I got a few decent pictures out of the trip!

As you can see from the following video the brush on either side was VERY dense and navigating my way upstream was tough to say the least especially with a backpack full of camera equipment that would be ruined if I slipped!

About Me

My photo
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