Pickens, SC – Hiking Trip – Day 5 – Falls Creek Waterfalls

Our friends left early in the morning so it was just the three of us again. We opted for a hike to another waterfall – Falls Creek Waterfalls. It’s not the best name, but the waterfalls were, again, quite beautiful. Some of the trip reports for this hike suggested the trail was quite steep and challenging. That is an accurate portrayal of parts of the trail. If you’re not in good shape and willing to traverse some rugged and steep terrain, you shouldn’t attempt this trail. Even so, most of the trail was of an easy grade.

Here’s the route:

The round trip distance was 2.46 miles with 1,114 feet of elevation gain.

Here is a video of the upper falls:

Here’s a photosphere of the upper falls:

And here’s a photosphere of the lower falls:

Even though this hike was a decent workout, the hike was relatively short. We decided as a result to stop by a roadside hike on our way back to the cabin, the Wildcat Wayside Nature Trail. Meh. Probably a mistake. There is a cute little waterfall right by the side of the road maybe 50 feet from where you park. There were kids playing here as there is a nice, shallow pool below the waterfall. But this was the most scenic element of the hike. We ended up following the roughly 1-mile nature trail. It was fine. It eventually reaches a cliff face that had a trickle of water coming down it. Perhaps during a rainstorm there would be a decent volume of water coming down the cliff face making another waterfall. But it really was a trickle dripping down into a small puddle and about half a dozen young kids were playing in that puddle. The trail is pretty level and not at all rugged except for one spot where you have to work your way over some roots. So, if you’re looking for a nice, easy trail, this is the one for you.

After our hike, we headed back to the cabin, cleaned up, had a nice lunch, then began what would turn into a fairly epic movie marathon. We watched the first two movies in The Hobbit series. I have extended versions of all of these, so each movie is at least three hours long. We got through two of them the first day we started it, with a good game in between them.

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Pickens, SC – Hiking Trip – Day 4 – Rainbow Falls

Following the same pattern, we got up fairly early to do another hike – Rainbow Falls. This one was in the Jones Gap State Park, which does require a $6 parking fee per person (kids and seniors are less). The hike was to Rainbow Falls. Here’s the route:

Per my watch, the route was 5.01 miles round trip with just under 2,000 feet of elevation gain. It’s a fairly rugged trail at times but quite a pleasant hike and the waterfalls at the top were very pretty. Here is a photosphere showing the falls:

We didn’t stay very long because the forecast called for rain in the early afternoon. We got a little sprinkle on our way down but it was quite light.

Here are a couple videos of the falls:

These are the upper falls at Rainbow Falls.
One of the lower falls at Rainbow Falls in Jones Gap State Park.

The bottom part of the trail is the main trail in Jones Gap State Park, which follows a very scenic river:

After the hike, we headed back to the cabin, cleaned up, and then followed your daily routine – eat, play games, and relax. We ended the night with Deadpool 2!

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Pickens, SC – Hiking Trip – Day 3 – Twin Falls Trail

With our friends from North Carolina joining us, we headed out for our second hike – Twin Falls Trail on Reedy Cove Creek. This one was a little weird as it isn’t part of a state park, so the parking for the beginning of the trail was really just a pull out on the side of a road with room for about 3 cars is all.

The trail was pretty well-maintained and included some nice elevation gain, which was great coming from Florida where the only elevation gain we have involves stairs and buildings! The trail ends at the upper falls of a two-stage set of waterfalls. The upper falls aren’t very large but they are elongated and quite beautiful. Here are some videos of the upper falls:

The upper falls on Twin Falls Trail
The upper falls in slow motion

Just below these is the main waterfall, which is probably 70 to 100 feet tall. We were able to very careful work our way to the top and sit there and enjoy the view while we had a snack. Getting to the top of the falls where we were is a bit treacherous and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t sure-footed. A small slip and you’d be in trouble quickly there.

While we were at the top of the falls we saw people at the bottom who were swimming in the pool. We thought it might be nice to see the falls from the bottom and even tried a side trail off the one we had followed but it didn’t lead to the bottom of the falls. I marked that on the map. I spent some time bushwacking off that side trail to see if I could connect to the other trail but ran into two creeks and actually fell into one. It wasn’t easy hiking and I didn’t want to make everyone else have to work their way through brush, so we ended up just heading out. Here’s the hike:

The hike was about 3 miles and took us about 2 hours, but with a solid 30 minutes or so enjoying the views at the top (and another 20 minutes wandering off the trail). The total elevation gain was about 1,000 feet.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing games. Just before bed, we decided to watch a movie. The choice we came to was Deadpool, which is always fun!

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Pickens, SC – Hiking Trip – Day 2 – Raven Rock Loop Trail

The plan was to do a hike every morning while it was cooler, then head back to the cabin and relax, playing games, watching movies, cooking, and chatting. We also had some friends who live in North Carolina who were going to visit for a couple of days.

Our first hike was the Raven Rock Loop Trail, which is a nice ~4 mile hike that extends the Keowee-Toxaway Natural Bridge trail to Lake Keowee. There are some small waterfalls on the Natural Bridge trail. Past that, it’s a nice hike up and down some hills and down to the lake, but no additional waterfalls. Here’s our route:

Here is a short clip of the waterfall:

And another short clip of the bubbling little brook:

Our total distance on the hike was 4.53 miles and it took us just over 2 hours.

After the hike, we headed back to the cabin, got cleaned up, then made a list of food. I headed into the nearest town to buy the food while Debi and Toren got everything ready for our friend and her kids. I arrived back at the cabin just before they did. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening chatting, playing games, and cooking.

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Europe Trip – Barcelona (Day 2)

It was the birthday of one of my nephew’s and he really wanted to go kayaking. So, we went kayaking. I think we all were hopeful that sea kayaking in Barcelona would give us a lot to see, kind of like when we went sea kayaking in Alaska. We were also under the impression that, like Alaska, we were not going to get wet. Both of those assumptions were wrong.

We ended up renting the sea kayaks from Centre Municipal de Vela de Barcelona, which is located really close to the Olympic Park in Barcelona. What we didn’t realize is that the kayaks had holes in them so water could drain out, but that also meant that sea water could come in. We also weren’t allowed to go to the nearby beach because people were swimming there, which meant we were relegated to paddling out around a concrete barrier and then coming back. We basically got to see the concrete barrier, some buoys, some big ships in the ocean, and each other. Additionally, the water was freezing and there were really big waves on the ocean. Collectively, what this meant is that we got really wet, really cold, and didn’t get to see much. But it was good exercise. The sea kayaking took up most of the morning. We found a nice restaurant for lunch where that same nephew ordered squid (which he didn’t eat, so the uncles finished it off).

After that, we got on the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus and got to see quite a bit of Barcelona. I was so impressed with the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and the fountains in front of it that I suggested we get off there. We did and spent a good hour enjoying the views and taking photos. Here’s a photosphere in front of the Museu:

The Museu really is an amazing sight with views of most of Barcelona and fabulous fountains:

I enjoyed the view enough I shot some footage of the waterfall just to keep as a loop.

A view of the museum below one of the waterfalls.
The view of the fountains from the museum.

We even managed to get a group photo:

Family photo in front of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

We then got back on the sightseeing bus and returned to our hotel. After a quick chance to drop off some stuff and refresh ourselves, we headed out to a nice, small Italian restaurant for dinner.

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Triple Falls Trail – Dupont Forest, North Carolina

I was attending a conference in Asheville, NC, and had half of a day free.  Rather than stay cooped up in my hotel, and knowing there were hills in the area, myself and my colleagues, took a trip out to Dupont Forest to hike Triple Falls.

We didn’t have a lot of time – just about an hour and a half.  That worked well for the hike as it isn’t particularly long.  Also, there was a risk of rain.  There was a light drizzle in the surrounding area as we approached the hike, and a light mist at times for parts of the hike.  The light mist was nice as it cooled us down while we climbed the hilly sections.

Here are a few videos from the hike:

We made it to the top of the falls fairly quickly. Here are a couple of videos of the scenic view from the covered bridge that crosses the river just above the top fall:

Just as we were headed out of the covered bridge, which provided some protection from any possible rain, the rain really picked up.  It lasted for about 20 minutes and got us pretty wet. Despite getting soaked, it was a fun hike and I’m sure even more delightful on a bright, sunny day.

Here’s the GPS track:

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Oregon trip – day 4 – Sahalie and Koosah Falls in Willamette National Forest

One of the other hikes I found online before I came out here was a hike in the Willamette National Forest that is a loop trail for the Sahalie and Koosah Falls.  I found a few other promising hikes for the Willamete National Forest, but time constraints meant I had to pick one that seemed very promising.  I’ve always liked waterfalls, so I opted for this loop trail the one day I drove out to the National Forest (it’s about 90 minutes from Eugene).

As before, Toren and I dropped Debi off at her work, then headed out to hike.  Toren was once again very accommodating, sleeping the entire way to the hike and back.  We drove right to the Sahalie Falls parking area, geared up, and hit the trail.

As far as hikes go, this one was perfect.  There was no serious elevation gain pretty much the entire time.  The elevation drop and gain was gradual, the trail was well-maintained, and the scenery was beautiful.  Oh, and the falls – gorgeous:

Koosah Falls from the west side of the loop

Sahalie Falls from the east side of the loop

Koosah Falls from the east side of the loop

I did stop a bit more regularly this time around to check on Toren.  With his new long-sleeve turtleneck, he was plenty warm.  Though, he wasn’t up to smiling for pictures:

Toren at Koosah Falls on the west side; he’s eating cheerios, but it looks like he’s thinking, “Big deal.  It’s just water.”

the two of us at Koosah Falls from the west side of the loop

the two of us at Sahalie Falls

I used my nifty GPS app to track this trip as well:

After the hike, we made the trip back to Eugene and picked up Debi.  We came back to the hotel and went swimming, then went to dinner with the people with whom Debi is working on this project.  It was a very enjoyable evening, especially once Toren fell asleep (until then, he was all over the deck and backyard of the couple who hosted us).

Some additional footage added after I posted this. Here is footage of Koosah Falls from the east side of the trail:

And Koosah Falls from the west side of the trail:

Here is Sahalie Falls from the top of the waterfall:

And Sahalie Falls from below the waterfall:

And, finally, Toren playing in the gravel at the bottom end of the waterfall loop:

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