A Winter Stroll Through The Waterfalls of Hanging Rock State Park

20130217-154949.jpg

It was a snow flurry filled Saturday and I was itching to get out. I had decided that this day was to be my first hiking trip with waterfall pictures using my tripod and DSLR. I have taken my point and shoot along long enough, and gotten nice waterfall shots, but something is just lacking in them. I had not been producing that silky, white water that better photographers get. I had tried some, but didn’t do this , or didn’t do that, or left the tripod at home, etc. Today, it was overcast, and very cold. I knew I would have some private time at the falls and it was time to set up and experiment until I saw something I liked.

I did not want to go far, so I chose nearby Hanging Rock State Park. It is a wonderful state park loaded with hiking trails, magnificent views from points reaching 2500 feet in elevation, a lake, the Dan River, historical sites such as Tory’s Den, and is also home to 5 waterfalls. On this day I would hike 3 separate trails to get to 4 of these 5. First stop was the waterfall that is located outside the main park, and probably the most picturesque of the group, the 35 foot high “Lower Cascades”

20130217-153105.jpg

Getting here requires a drive to Hall Rd, just outside the main park, a well marked parking area is on the right. The trail is about 0.3 miles and starts out as a nice walk in the woods. The descent to the falls is down a series of steps, wooden and stone and is safe. It will likely cause a little huffing and puffing on the way up, but it is not too bad. At the bottom, you will be greeted with a beautiful 35 foot waterfall, steep cliffs on the left, and a beautiful stream that cascades more as it leaves the falls.

20130217-155711.jpg

This was a good trip, I was very pleased immediately, so I decided to hike to another one. I drove up the mountain into the main park to the very large parking lot at the visitor center. Here is the access to the Upper Cascades, another 35 foot waterfall on the same creek. The trail is short again, maybe 0.3 miles that descends to the waterfall viewing deck, then down some steep steps to the base.

20130218-164010.jpg

20130218-164034.jpg
Again I was pleased with these shots and on this hike, snow began to fall. It was not too heavy and did not stick so it made the hike even more enjoyable. I decided to do one more trail, on the other side of the parking lot. This one was the Indian Creek Trail, which also runs along the Mountains To Sea Trail. This leads to 2 waterfalls along Indian Creek. While smaller than Cascade Creek, it is still very scenic and the waterfalls are nice. First waterfall is Hidden Falls, a small 13 ft fall that looks very nice when it has water flow.

20130218-164552.jpg

Another 0.2 miles down the trail is the more defined Window Falls, a 25 foot waterfall, named for the 3-4 foot hole in the gigantic rock formation at this waterfall. This waterfall requires some steep rock steps to get to as the trail really begins to descend here.

20130218-164833.jpg

20130218-164902.jpg

20130218-165015.jpg

20130218-165039.jpg

The last 2 shots are the “Window”. After the return hike, I decided that was enough for this day. I had certainly found what I came up here seeking. Now it’s a whole new world.

20130218-163615.jpg

Advertisements

Super Bowl Weekend Skiing & A Waterfall Or Two Of Course!

20130211-052520.jpg

I love it when a plan comes together! At the last minute, the Friday of Super Bowl Weekend, my stepfather and I decided to take a little trip to the NC Mountains Ski Country, for some Super Bowl Sunday skiing. I was hesitant of this as I have not had a pair of the thin gliders on my feet in over a decade. I wasn’t very good then, so inexperience and old age just didn’t seem to be a combination that would work in my favor. Continue reading “Super Bowl Weekend Skiing & A Waterfall Or Two Of Course!”