Monday, February 11, 2008

Hidden Waterfall, Wilderness Hike

My son and I took off for a weekend of hiking in the Nantahala National Forest where North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina border one another. The area is packed with beautiful mountains and fantastic waterfalls and wildwater. Unfortunately, it's an area that is very popular with the moderately wealthy elite of the South and has succumbed to overdevelopment by rapacious builders. Urban sprawl has all but raped this corner of the formerly wild lands of the southern Appalachians.

One of our intended hikes had to be called off because the mountains we wanted to bag are now under the complete ownership of a private concern. The public is no longer allowed there. Two entire mountains under private ownership. If ever I needed an illustration of why it's okay to condemn land and take it from private ownership to public holdings, I have to look no farther. If only we had a government with some balls, much of the high country in that part of the state could be taken from the rich who have bought it and placed within parkland so that all could enjoy it.

Until I have time to write more, here are a few photos from our trip:

Whiteside Mountain as seen from Whiteside Cove Road.

The lower falls of Scotsman's Creek.
Our campsite at Ammon Branch Campground, a Nantahala National Forest facility. Great price, too: Free!
My son, Andy, on an iron bridge on the Chatooga River Trail.
The Waterfall Andy was looking at from the iron bridge.
Our hiking companion, Andy Kunkle, negotiating a rough blowdown beside the trail.

Andy at a large poplar tree near Highlands after the Chatooga hike.

Andy standing beside a large hemlock tree on the Chatooga Trail. Most the hemlocks in this area are all dead from hwa.

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