Highlands – 28th Anniversary 11-7-18

On Monday morning the 5th of November, Mike and I set out for the Cashiers/Highlands area of NC to see fall foliage and waterfalls. Well we were a week past peak but still had some brilliant yellows (no reds this year … no frost to speak of in the mountains yet). Monday started out with a light rain but by the time we hit the mountains we had some sun. We tackled the known waterfalls first like Bridal Veil (used to be able to drive your car under it but no more – not what you would call a great one) and then Dry Falls. Well Dry Falls is a misnomer. They definitely weren’t dry. In fact after two hurricanes and various rains they were all in full flow. Cullasaja Falls along the same route we saved for Tuesday along with an attempt to find Schoolhouse Falls in the Panthertown Valley. However directions were sparse and we followed the wrong path. We ended up on a narrow, unmaintained sort of walkway toward Greenland Creek. Oh well. Should have gone with the other unmarked trail (which had no signs or maintenance either). Wednesday we saved for our Favorite which is Whitewater Falls (a paved 1/2 mile walk and then down 164 stairs to the viewing platform) along with Gorges State Park. In the park we headed for Rainbow Falls without realizing what 1.5 miles meant on that particular trail which started out great. Then we ran into a small creek crossing and then a bigger creek crossing … then buried rocks, tree roots, mud, slippery leaves and STAIRS. According to my fitbit we climbed a total of 10 flights of stairs. Turned out it took us 2.5 hours to get to the falls (Worth It) and it was now 4:30pm. Oh Oh. That meant if we traveled at the same pace (and probably slower) we wouldn’t get back to the trail head until after 7pm. After 1/2 an hour Mike found a very small signal on his cell and called 911 and they relayed our information to the Visitors Center. 45 Min later we managed to reach the visitors center and they sent out a Park Ranger in a Bobcat 4 wheel drive to meet us on the other side of the big creek. Whew! Back at our car by 5pm and what a relief. Finished off our shot trip with a nice dinner and collapsed for the drive home on Thursday.