Waterfall Heaven: North Carolina

24 07 2015

Following our adventures in South Carolina and in Asheville, written about here, we next dedicated a day to the great outdoors in the Asheville area, primarily because the Pisgah Forest nearby has some amazing waterfalls. Waterfalls always fascinate me, largely because we don’t really have them in Florida where the land is extremely flat.

Our first stop in Pisgah was Looking Glass Falls.

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Oh yes! Everything I’d hoped for. You park on the street (plenty of space when we arrived), and head down some stairs to a viewing platform. Naturally I hopped down from the platform to walk around on the rocks in front of the falls, which plenty of people were doing. I couldn’t get the whole thing in frame with my 50 mm lens. Below you can see more of the rocks above the falls.

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Beautiful, clear, cool water.

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Above, looking down-stream from the falls…

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It feels kind of like a jungle paradise (from the perspective of someone who’s never been to a jungle paradise, admittedly), because when you look at the falls from ground-level, it’s almost this enclosed space. Plus, there’s all this mist floating around. See the haziness below? Mist.

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I had to get a few phone pics to get the whole falls in:

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Above, that’s taken up on the first lookout point before you go down the stairs. Definitely, go down the stairs.

Next we drove further on, maybe 1 mile, to see Moore Cove Falls. This is much less obvious than Looking Glass. Looking Glass has a sign and lots of parking. Moore Cove is sort of nondescript with smaller parking, and the falls are at such a distance from parking that you can’t immediately tell that’s where you are. You park and walk, I don’t know how long, maybe .8 miles?

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Above, a view from the walk. It’s steep in a few places, but mostly not bad.

Just when you’re thinking “maybe I’m in the wrong place on some trail that goes on for miles and is nowhere near this waterfall,” you see it peek through the trees.

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I have no pictures that come anywhere close to conveying how cool this site was. Because of the size and then, if you walk behind the falls, the closeness and the sharp contrast of lights/darks, neither my narrow-lensed camera or my cell was really up to the task of capturing it. But trust me, it’s worth seeing in person.

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There’s a little lookout area where you get this view, above. I know it doesn’t look that big. But it’s very tall, and you can actually walk around and behind the falls.

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It’s like this huge cave/alcove thing, very cool temps inside. Huge outcroppings of rocks. Below just shows a portion – couldn’t get the whole thing in frame.

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One of those things you have to rely on memories to capture, but the experience made it my favorite waterfall of the trip.

The way back was very pretty:

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After a short excursion in a little town (no pics, sorry), we headed back to Asheville to see the botanical gardens. Online, they sound very small-scale compared to the Arboretum, which I’ve been to before and is truly huge and worth seeing. But the botanical gardens are well worth it. It’s free, for one, and even though we got there too late for the visitor center to be open, we could still stroll through. the place was actually pretty big and peppered with quiet groups of people and individual students reading and resting.

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Some of the landscape feels designed, and some feels very wild. There are many small trails winding around and up through hilly areas. Through one secluded walk we found this little wood hut thing:

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My favorite part by far was the scenery around a wooden bridge with the rocky stream, trees, and blooms below:

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The whole gardens had this aura of peace, with cool, flower-scented breezes carrying delicate, sunlit flower petals and seed pods through the air. There was also a bit of unexpected cuteness:

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Can you see him? The little chipmunk that appeared over the tree root with an acorn (or something?) in his mouth? In Florida, we have plenty of squirrels but no chipmunks, so I was super excited. He, on the other hand, was a little panicked and got away form us as fast as possible:

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Oh well! I wish I could take the botanical gardens home with me. Definitely see them if you’re in Asheville! We wrapped up our nature day, taking an early night to prepare for the next day’s adventure…a trip to Biltmore Estate.

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2 responses

28 07 2015
Biltmore!: Part 1 | Art Stuff by K

[…] day after our waterfall adventure, we made our way to my favorite place in Asheville: Biltmore […]

30 07 2015
Biltmore!: Part 2 (The Gardens) | Art Stuff by K

[…] you aren’t sick of greenery by now after my South Carolina and Pisgah Forest photos, you might be after this post, because I’m completely dedicating it to the gardens of […]

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