This place is right next to Hwy 64 between Franklin and Highlands in North Carolina. The road has waterfalls right and left of it all up and down the road but this one waterfall is huge, "a roaring monster" according to the Waterfall Walks book. We first saw it a month or so ago while exploring the area for the first time. We whipped of the narrow winding roadway onto the scrap of dirt between the road and guardrail barely squeezing in. Even across the valley the falls were "HOLY SH*T!" impressive. I got out the 4x5 and tried a few shots but when I souped the negs later that week I saw I'd messed up the setting of the standards (unfamiliar to the camera yet). So this weekend we planned stopping there first off so we would have time to do it right. As we were getting out of the vehicle I saw some folks pulling kayaks from thier car and getting set up for a river run. I went over and asked about what they were up to and found there was a trail down to the river right next to where I'd parked and they were going to carry the kayaks down that steep trail to the water, which they said was class 5 rapids for 2 or 3 miles from that point. I guess that would make the waterfall a class 20 or so.
After I shot four frames from the roadside I packed up and looked at the trail down. As I'd had over ten years experience caving I figured I could make it to the bottom in one piece and get a better shot. Photographers never learn do they? The trail was nearly a 45 degree slope at the best of times hopping from rock to ledge using my fully extended tripod as a walking stick. I stopped about halfway down at a good vantage point and shot another couple of frames. While I was at it a young lady came up from below after seeing off the kayakers and passed by with greetings.
After studying the terrain I decided the best shot was down at stream level so I packed up and continued down. It got even steeper before I got to the stream debris area and could look it over for a place to set up. Turned out to be one place I could stand without falling in and still take pictures. I set up the tripod on three separate boulders with the legs spread at wierd angles and mounted the camera, then the lens. Mist was blowing over me from the falls even though they were at least a hundred yards upstream. After struggling through another six frames I decided I'd had enough and packed up.
Think the adventures over? Think not! That climb out beat anything I'd ever had to do in the last several years stopping to rest at leat four timesas I clawed my way out of the chasm. I guess I'm just too far out of shape after passing the half century mark. I wound up with a pulled muscle in my leg and was so fatigued from the climb out I had to ask Dale to drive. That was cured by a stop at the local Barbeque house for an hour or two rest and fine food.