Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls NC

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.” Thoreau

This is typically my motto for nearly everything I do.

When it comes to hiking, I’m very slow because I like to look at all the plants and fungi along the trail. I don’t hike to reach the top of a mountain or to achieve some personal goal. I hike to enjoy the walk itself and to see what I can see. I tend to be easily distracted, so it would probably annoy most people to hike with me. To save everyone the trouble of following me on the road less traveled, I tend to hike alone. For my most recent hike, I made an exception to my rule and had a great time.   

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to attend a native flower identification workshop. It was given by one of the most well-known botanists in western NC so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After the workshop, Josh and I went to Gorges State Park in Transylvania County to look at a few waterfalls. We wound up hiking a short trail to Rainbow Falls. I haven’t been hiking much this summer because I was sick, working and taking an Organic Chemistry class. It felt great to finally stretch my legs on the 1.5mi hike to the falls. The trail was marked strenuous and it took us about 1hr30min for the whole 3mi. We stopped and looked at any plants which were interesting. It was wonderful to hike with someone who knew enough about plants to be able to carry on a conversation. There are not many people who are interested in learning just for the sake of learning.

I have read conflicting data on how high Rainbow Falls actually is, so I used the boy on the left as a reference and came up with 150ft from where the highest point of the falls to the pool. The boy didn’t jump in, even though he was being egged on by a couple of other boys. I think he was the smart one of the three because the water was very powerful that day due to a recent storm. Josh and I didn’t take the trail to the top of the falls, but apparently there is a pool at the top beneath another waterfall. Several people have gotten caught up in the current and have lost their lives by being swept over Rainbow Falls.

I found out that the name, Rainbow Falls, comes from the fact that during certain times of the day the falls have a rainbow. The river is called Horsepasture and has many other falls, such as the small one in the picture below which is named Hidden Falls.

Hidden Falls NC
     

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