Ok, folks…I can’t figure out this new editor when I write on my phone. I can’t seem to get the pictures to be anything other than billboard size. Sorry.
Five years ago I was handed a book containing fifty waterfalls in SC and GA. This spurred a tradition that all three of us look forward to every year.
On Thanksgiving morning we pack up the car, load all three humans and whatever canines are with us and head out to find the next waterfall.
The trickiest part is finding the trail head as the book gives directions from a road intersection. So far we have stuck to the falls found in the Walhalla area due to proximity to us (just over an hour) and length of hike (under 4 miles) to ensure that we get to enjoy it and make it home for dinner.
This year I chose Yellow Branch Falls which boasted a three dimensional “Mayan city-esque ” feel. Our family had dwindled to five of us this year and I had convinced my mom that cooking for three days for five people was over kill and to go out to eat this year instead. This freed her up in the morning and she got to come hiking with us.
The trail head was easy to find having been in the area in the past and the parking lot was empty when we arrived. By the time we left there were eighteen cars! Being an early bird has advantages.
The morning dawned brisk in the upper 30s, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and I knew it would warm up with the sun. The sky was that brilliant deep blue that is only seen in the fall and I spent as much time looking up as I did at the trail.
The trail was really fun with multiple creek crossings, foot bridges and plenty of technicality to tire us all out. It ended up being closer to four miles and I was so proud of how Wyatt handled it all.
The dogs remained on leash for the majority of the hike. I was shocked Dusty let Waggy come. We are still trying to figure out what brace, if any, will work for her dead leg and I thought for sure he would leave her behind. She happily kept up though and as we neared the falls and the trail grew very narrow and steep, we let the pups off and both dogs handled the terrain without issue.
After climbing and descending, twisting and turning for nearly an hour the trail came to a dead end at Yellow Branch Falls. Wyatt was in the lead and he let out a very excited “I found it!” that echoed down the valley.
The dogs were off leash at this point and both plowed into the icy water to play and drink. Wyatt wasn’t far behind them.
We learned a long time ago to pack a towel and full change of clothes as there is no way Wyatt is going to be kept from playing in the water no matter the temperature. He ended up soaked, shivering and happy before we changed and headed back towards the truck.
I was shocked at how busy the trail was on our way back. We passed an almost constant stream of hikers headed towards the falls and I’m so glad we are early morning people. (I’m typing this on my phone at 6:15 am Saturday morning).
I think we have one fall left to see in the Walhalla area before moving to those at the SC/NC border.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This tradition has been so much fun from the planing of which one to the execution to looking back and watching Wyatt grown up.