LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Land Where the Water Falls

With more than 250 named waterfalls, Transylvania County is called the "Land of the Waterfalls." With an average annual rainfall of 80 inches, it is jokingly called, "Land Where the water falls" by local residents. One section of our county is officially designated a temperate rain forest. In most years, our county receives more rain than any county east of the Rocky Mountains.

It has been more than 3 years since we approached a normal rainfall. A severe drought has reduced the amount of rain to a percentage of normal.

Last week several weather fronts dumped rain on us and parts of Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. It poured and poured...more than 14 inches in six days. On Monday the rain slowed somewhat so my husband and I did what we always do after a heavy rain; we headed out to see a waterfall or two.

With raincoats and umbrellas we headed up to Pisgah National Forest to view two waterfalls that are easily accessible.


Looking Glass Falls is impressive. Here is a photograph of "normal" flow.




This is Looking Glass Falls on Monday afternoon. What a sight and sound! The roar of the falls was impressive. The water fell with such force that it splashed 20 feet in the air at the bottom of the falls.

The water poured over the top of the falls.


We couldn't walk closer to the falls because of the mist. We could protect the camera from the rain with our umbrellas, but there is no way to protect it from the mist.






Another easily accessible waterfall is a recreation area known as Sliding Rock. In summers it is filled with children and adults who slide down the smooth rocks to a pool below. It's a favorite destination for the summer campers.
Here a couple of girls slide down the rocks. This is taken at the top of the "slide." The amount of water flowing is somewhat less than normal because of the drought.




This is a photograph of the same area on Monday. Notice that the fence is partially underwater and none of the rocks are visible. What a change.






This shows most of the sliding area of Sliding Rock. People are lined up on the left waiting a turn in the icy cold water. Notice that the fence is away from the rushing water. Compare that to the previous photograph.





On Monday, the sliding area looked like this. I could not get down to the deck because of the spray. The pool at the bottom was no longer visible as it became part of the roaring river.



The sign indicates the area is closed. While we didn't see any swimmers, we did see a couple of young men debating whether they could kayak the area. They wisely decided they would not be able to make the curve at the bottom and would run into the deck. We have all sorts of signs saying the obvious. You wouldn't think you need to tell people not to get in the water at the top of a waterfall, or not to jump off a waterfall. But it is necessary and every year people ignore them and suffer death or severe injury.



I must admit I feel a bit guilty enjoying the splendor of the waterfalls while others are suffering from extensive flooding. Major roads were closed due to high water and people in some areas of the county had to evacuate. Homes were flooded and farmers lost crops. The remaining apples in Henderson County were knocked from the trees and the orchards are too soggy to harvest them.
----------------So think positive thoughts for those less fortunate while you enjoy the waterfalls. The rain stopped on Tuesday, although another front is expected to bring us more rain this evening. But the prediction is for light rain and scattered showers...nothing like the past week. The rivers will crest today so the worst should be over and the cleanup will begin. I'm certain the kind folks of Transylvania County will be generous is increasing donations to the less fortunate.



25 comments:

Karin said...

My mom lives in the nursing home where I work. She was the one who told of all the flooding. We had it all over the news up here. So sorry for all the devastation this has caused. Unbelievable! You've got excellent comparative pics!!

Thistlebrooms said...

Carolyn...
Talk about ALL or NOTHING...
Rain is nice but surly flooding has its limits...

Wonderful Before & After photos...Very impressive...We saw up here in Ct. the flooding but your pics are from the home...
I don't think I'd like to slide down 'Sliding Rock' now!!!

Thanks for sharing & I do hope everyone is ok...

My Best...Marilyn

Beth said...

Oh my, that is truly astonishing to see the "before" and "after" shots of the waterfalls. Quite awe-inspiring---let's hope that most folks' awe is sufficiently inspired so that they don't do something stupid like trying to go down Sliding Rock.

You know, I believe that my county, Buncombe, is the driest or one of the driest in North Carolina. Ironic that the wettest and driest spots should be so close to one another!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wooooo---that's totally amazing. Can't believe both of those. As you know, we were just at Sliding Rock in July... Unbelievable.

And I've never seen Looking Glass with THAT much water. You????? Woooo---wish I could see it in person.

Bet the falls at Dupont are running like crazy now too...
Hugs,
Betsy

Twisted Fencepost said...

Water can be both beautiful and dangerous. People should learn to admire its beauty at a safe distance.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost due to this unusual storm.
Great pics!

Rudee said...

Those are impressive comparative photos. Water is an amazing force to reckon with in conditions like this. I hope your rains stop soon.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Powerful waterfalls and roaring rivers have always frightened me. I actually got a twinge just looking at your photos!

Busy Bee Suz said...

That waterfall change is just amazing.
I do feel for those injured or worse due to this bad weather. Praying for those unfortunate souls daily.
take care, suz

Sam said...

When in rains, it pours! What a difference in the falls.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I missed seeing falls after so much rain - danged ole angry appendix! But our creek is just a-going! *smiling*

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks for sharing the beautiful waterfalls! So awe-inspiring!

robin andrea said...

Great comparative photos. Really can see the swell of waters and the inherent dangers. I hope things calm down so people can clean up and get on with life as usual.

Tina said...

Yes, I have watching the news and saw all the tragedy that is hitting the southern states as that system passed through. So sad..always tears at my heart to see how fast nature can rip apart someone's life.
Your photos really show how fast and furious water can become..
great post!

KB said...

Those are dramatic before and after photos. You have had a deluge. I'm always impressed with how you realize that you're lucky and think of those who aren't as lucky. We're wishing them well.

And, for the sake of you and the furry girls, I'm trying to send you some sun so you can take some walks!

BTW, you were right on about diabetes being my big fear for my dog (you must have been a medical professional from how correctly you guess these things from little info). I just found out that K has a UTI and NO signs of diabetes. What a relief.

scienceguy288 said...

I thought it was famous for vampires. Just kidding. The waters certainly do look rough.

George said...

That's more water than I've ever seen going over both falls. I'm glad you were able to get out and get these pictures. I also hope that the worst of the flooding is over.

Jayne said...

It is really amazing to witness the sheer power and force of water and what it can do.

KGMom said...

Feast or famine--that's the weather. Too much, too little.
Impressive display of nature's power. Glad the young men were not foolish...this time.

dAwN said...

Wow..the before and after pictures really put the whole thing into perspective.

so sorry about all the flooding.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Those are great comparison photos of the falls.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

These dramatic photos of the falls are beautiful. I've been to Looking Glass Falls. When my newphew attended Brevard College, we explored several of the falls at Brevard. What a lovely posting. Have a great weekend.

Cicero Sings said...

Glad you got some rain to replenish the stocks! One does wish that it would come in measured quantities once in a while though. We are still in drought conditions. Two fires we saw on our way home ... or the smoke from them ... new ones started in September and fairly large already. No frost yet though maybe tomorrow night.

Kelly said...

Holy moly....that water gushing over Looking Glass Falls is scary! No doubt it will wipe out anything in its way....amazing and gorgeous.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for you comments. I do enjoy hearing from you.

Beth - Given the sharp turn at the bottom, I really don't think anyone would be dumb enough to try.

Betsy - I thought of you and George while we were standing there listening to the tremendous roar of the falls. We did get to DuPont the next day and those falls are amazing as well. I'll post some of the photos next week.

Kat - I hope you are regaining your strength and feeling back to normal.

Science guy - We don't have any REAL vampires, but we do have lots of bat caves.

Donna - I have a gut feeling that those two guys did find an area to put in. They clearly did not know the river and I hope they are safe.

Kelly - We drove back up on Thursday. The water had receded a bit and there were many very large trees that had fallen into the river. It will take a lot of cleanup.

The Thundering Herd said...

And today, Saturday, we are getting buried in rain while driving into East Tennessee. bet the waterfalls are back up!