Picture of the Day: Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

A beautiful waterfall made famous by the tv show Twin Peaks!

We got to stop by Snoqualmie on our way from Seattle to Mt Rainier and it was worth every second!

Thanks! – Josh

Sunday Hikes: Tom’s Creek Falls

Tom’s Creek Falls is located in the Pisgah National Forest north of Marion, North Carolina. The hike itself is very short at only one mile round trip with a flat gravel trail that is very easy to traverse (there were multiple people in wheelchairs on the trail when I went in March).

The trailhead is located a mile-ish off of highway 221 on a maintained dirt road. It was midday when we started our hike and thanks to the recent spring rains there were loads of wildflowers at the trailhead. And thanks to the first warm weekend of the year the small parking lot was full (Like 5 or 6 cars).

The trail starts flat and wanders through the woods for a bit before reaching a small stream. With the stream to our left the trail got a little steeper with a few easy switchbacks. After the switchbacks the trail straightened up and here is the first view of the waterfall. I was surprised when I first saw it, the 80 foot cascade pours off a cliff into a rounded and rocky area before draining away into a small stream.

The trail ends at somewhat of a split in the road, to the left is a wooden balcony with benches for viewing the waterfall, and to the right is a small hill that is probably twenty feet above the balcony and has a nice view of the waterfall. We went right and scrambled up the small hill and then down into the round and rocky area below the waterfall. From there we could not see or hear anyone and despite the trail having decent traffic it felt very secluded.

The Tom’s Creek Falls trail is a short and easy hike with a lot of reward! If you are ever in the area it is definitely worth the time.

 

Thanks – Josh

Sunday Hikes: North Rim Trail, Tallulah Gorge

Our home state of Georgia is mostly woods and farmland and that’s about the extent of some people’s view on Georgia’s landscape. Some people are surprised to find out we have mountains (small ones but mountains nonetheless). Even fewer people are aware that the state contains large canyons, three to be exact (Providence Canyon, Cloudland Canyon, and Tallulah Gorge). Obviously that is nothing compared to most western states but to a state of mostly farms and pines they are a big deal.

 

Tallulah Gorge is perhaps the most popular with it’s massive waterfalls, steep 1,000 foot cliffs, and unmitigated beauty. Tallulah Gorge State Park’s North Rim Trail is a great trail that takes you to six incredible overlooks above the canyon. The trail is mostly flat and only 1.5 miles round trip.

Overlook #1 is also originally named “Inspiration Point” and shows Oceana Falls and horseshoe bend rock formation.

Overlook #2 gives a slightly new view of Oceana Falls as well as Bridal Veil Falls (another unique name)

Overlook #3 shows off three more waterfalls; L’Eau d’Or Falls, Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascades and the Hawthorne Pool.

Overlook #4 is another view of L’Eau d’Or Falls and Hawthorne Pool. From here the ruins of an old water compressor plant can be seen. As well as the Tallulah Falls Dam.

Overlook #5 is an awesome view of Tallulah Falls Dam which was has been around since 1913. Georgia’s oldest living resident is 113 years old and would have been 8 years old at the time of the dam’s completion. It is likely that no one alive remembers or could recall this natural wonder’s natural state. Each overlook is no more than a fence or a small wooden porch built on the canyon’s edge except for 5. 5 has a large stone and concrete platform. When I went recently and took these pictures the whole thing had a giant pool of snowmelt in it.

Overlook #6 is another view of Hawthorne and also just a great view of the gorge.

Tallulah is an easy day trip from Atlanta, Asheville, or Chattanooga. There is also so much in that area that a weekend trip or even a weeklong trip could be spent in northeast Georgia. I love the western United States and there is no denying the the nature there is bigger and wilder than the heavily populated a long inhabited east but there is still wilderness and extreme beauty here in the east and I would encourage anybody to get out and explore it.

Thanks! – Josh

Friday Favorites: Niagara Falls

Waterfalls are always favorites, especially an iconic one like Niagara Falls. Best viewed from the Canadian side, every time I’ve been to Niagara I’ve been surprised by the huge volumes of water. From where I recorded the video, you can stick your hand right in the water as it plummets over the edge. rk

Sunday Hikes: The Trillium Falls Trail

This is a fun hike right off of Hwy 101 in Redwoods country in Northern California. The trailhead is at the site of a former sawmill. Near the bathrooms there are signs showing what the area looked like when the area was being deforested and the difference to today is astounding.

After leaving the parking area, you will follow a gravel road until you come to the trailhead on your right. If you miss it, the looped trail comes back around to the gravel road a short distance away.

The Trillium Trail is a 2.8 mile loop that goes through a stand of old growth Redwoods that somehow missed the slaughter by the nearby sawmill. The trail inclines into the wooded hills and quickly comes to the namesake, Trillium Falls. This is a small 10 foot cascade where we filled our Lifestraw’s.

As the trail winds through the forest you can imagine scenes from movies shot in the area like Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park 2. The giant trees are fabulous and make for a quick and enjoyable hike. One of the notable things about this hike is that each grove is sponsored by a family, often in memory of a loved one. It brings a nice personal touch to the hike.

As we came back around to the trailhead area we looked around for elk that we heard hung out in this area. We didn’t spot any here, but just a short distance down the 101 we spotted a herd lounging around with their young ones. One of the elk only had one antler so of course he was our favorite.

The Redwoods National and State Parks in Northern California are a beautiful and fun place to visit. I hope you make your way there soon. rk

Friday Favorites: Big Sur

From my first sighting of the Big Sur coast through the Santa Lucia Mountains, I was amazed by its beauty. The waterfalls gushing onto the beach and California State Route 1 practically bolted to the side of the mountains, precariously perched above the crashing waves just add to its charm. It’s one of my favorite places I’ve visited. rk

Friday Favorites: Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is a 620 foot waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Portland OR. It is easily accessed right off of I-84, heck you can see it without even stopping at the parking area.

I wanted to hike up the trails to see the waterfall from different angles, but they were still closed while I was there from the September 2017 wildfire. Please enjoy the video and thanks for reading. rk

Sunday Hikes: Cattail Falls

Located in Big Bend National Park is Cattail Falls, the tallest waterfall in Texas (When it is actually flowing). If you look on any maps you won’t see waterfall listed though. This is because most of the water from the Chisos Mountains drains from Cattail Falls, making it an essential contributor to the survival of the barren desert below. With that in mind and with increasing traffic to the falls, the National Park Service decided to block the dirt road leading up to the two mile round trip hike to the falls and back as well as leaving it off all maps in order to protect the fragile area from over visitation. It is still open for visitation but you have to hike a little bit further and know how to find it.

On my third visit to the park I figured out how to get there and with that being one of the few things I haven’t been to in the park, I had to go! The hike begins on a gated off dirt road across the street from the Sam Nail Ranch. There is very limited parking here (especially when big RVs decide to stop at the pull off for lunch) so you’ll want to get there early in the day. Another good reason to start hiking early is the heat. Big Bend is hot all year round with winter highs reaching into the 80s regularly and occasionally  hanging out above 90F. This hike has pretty much no tree cover until you arrive at the oasis created by the falls so be sure to bring plenty of water and some cool sunglasses. We started our hike on probably the hottest day of our trip with the sun rising high above the Chisos.

Soon after starting along the dirt road we passed a construction vehicle that was out in the open but invisible from the road. We kept on hiking past the big yellow Volvo and down the desert road.

This trail takes your from the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and towards the Chisos Mountains making it hard to not stare up and admire the huge cliffs as the shadows constantly change from the sun rising. While hiking and looking up at the mountains, I noticed a big bird chilling on one of the big agave stalks and took some pictures before it flew off.

Over 400 species of bird visit Big Bend at some point in the year so I had a hard time pinning it down but I’d guess it is a falcon of some sort. The road continues through the desert and passes through a couple arroyos with a couple trees around giving a tiny bit of shade. Maybe a mile and a half in, the road narrows into a trail and this is where the first sign for the waterfall appears.

After this the trail takes you down into a small oasis with a very large tree growing. This is a good spot to take a break if you need to since it is much cooler and much shadier than the rest of the trail. There is also a sign describing the waterfall here.

From the little oasis there is about a mile (It felt like less than a mile to me) to the falls. The trail is pretty much entirely vertical except for right here as you climb up some stairs from the oasis back up into the hot desert. The trail takes you up into Cattail canyon where the the plant  life thrives and many animals travel to to drink. I was hoping to see a Mexican Black Bear here since they supposedly frequent this area but I guess they were avoiding me because there were no bears sadly.

The trail takes you over some rocks and under a tree or two. Once the waterfall was in sight there are some more rocks to climb over to get up close.

The waterfall was just a small trickle from the canyon above but impressive still to see what just a little water can do. It was green all over and plants found nowhere else in the park can be found here!

I climbed around and found a nice big boulder to brew some coffee on while enjoying the little oasis we had all to ourselves. It was probably 45 minutes until someone else came along right when we were getting ready to head out. The hike back went by quickly as usual as I enjoyed being on a nice desert hike in the sun while back home in Atlanta it was getting ready to snow.

I would definitely encourage you to visit Cattail Falls just make sure to pack out what you bring and don’t swim in the pool created by the waterfall!

Big Bend’s Iconic “Window”

Thanks! – Josh

Picture of the Day: Icefields Parkway 

If you ever need to drive for a couple of hours and be amazed at everything outside your cars windows (or outside your motorcycle helmet) then the Icefields Parkway is for you! Connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks it is almost 150 miles long (232km) and will show you glaciers, mountains, lakes of all shades of blue, waterfalls, and any other thing that defines the beautiful Canadian Rockies in Banff and Jasper! If you get lucky you get even see some Wildlife such as, black and brown bears, caribou, mountain goats, bobcats, marmots, or even a bighorn sheep! 
Thanks – Josh