Monday, July 06, 2015

Avoiding the Good Stuff

Sometimes, somehow, I will miss seeing some amazing places all around my outdoors stomping grounds. Such a case has been one of the most famous waterfalls in North Carolina, Dry Falls. I have driven right past this waterfall many, many times. And there's really no good excuse to avoid seeing it other than, perhaps, missing out on it because one doesn't like crowds. For this waterfall is adjacent to Highway 64 outside the village of Highlands. There is a vast parking area and a set of expensive, well-engineered stairs leading to the waterfall, along with excellent guardrails to keep all but the most idiotic of humans from harming themselves on the rocky terrain.

The falls got its name because it is said that you can walk behind the falls and still stay dry, due to the prominent overhang that allows you to negotiate your way under it. Of course you don't stay completely dry because of the huge clouds of mist that billow everywhere around the falls. But you certainly don't get drenched.

And even if Dry Falls didn't have this feature, it's still an amazing sight. It plummets in a sheer drop for quite a distance, unlike many southern waterfalls that are actually a series of connected cascades. Also, it has quite a volume of water, being the entire channel of the Cullasaja River driving over the edge of the granite and gneiss where it has carved an impossible gorge into the almost unyielding stone.

Well, chalk this one up to many missed opportunities. And now I can mark it off my list of the South's great natural wonders. The next time I'm in that area I will be certain to visit it again.

Dry Falls as you descend the staircase from the parking area.

After walking under the falls I turned and took this photo.

People enjoying the power of the falling water.

Ferns and mosses and tiny plants are constantly washed with spray.

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