Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Waterfall Wednesday

Batson Creek and Carson Creek make spectacular twin waterfalls and then converge into one stream. The Carson Creek waterfall is known as Connestee Falls and the Batson Creek waterfall is Lower Batson Creek Falls.

Access to the top of Connestee Falls is easy, a 50-yard walk from a parking lot. Most people think they are looking at Connestee Falls, when in fact they are standing at the top of Connestee Falls and looking at Lower Batson. The view of Connestee Falls itself requires a strenuous hike to the bottom of Batson Creek Falls.

This is Connestee Falls. To the right you can see the end of Lower Batson. At the top of the picture you can see the observation area at the top of the falls. The size of the woman on the deck provides scale for the size of the waterfall. (You may wish to click to enlarge.)
The picture was taken last fall. So far this spring, I haven’t had time to hike down.

This is Lower Batson Creek Falls, taken from the top of Connestee Falls. In the middle right you can see the steps from which the preceding picture was taken. (You may need to click to enlarge.)

It amazes me that the two creeks making these waterfalls are small. They meander down, collect in pools and then take the gigantic plunge over the rocks.

This is Batson Creek.
This picture was also taken during a fall hike to the bottom of the falls.
This is Carson Creek, less than 25 yards from the top of Connestee Falls.
Connestee Falls is privately owned, but the owner allows public access to the top of the falls. Negotiations are underway to have the falls purchased by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

Lower Batson Creek Falls lies entirely within my community and I own part of it. (In reality the land is green space owned by the Property Owner’s Association, and since I’m a property owner, I own a tiny portion of the falls.)

No waterfall story could possibly be complete without the ubiquitous Indian princess legend. Folklore tells us that Princess Connestee (from the Cherokee Nation) leapt from the top of the 110-foot falls to her death on the rocks below. She jumped for the same reasons all folklore jumpers take the plunge – loss of a lover. Her English husband returned to England and she was so heart-broken she just couldn’t go on. As is the case in most legends, there isn’t much evidence to support the truth of it. It is said that if you go to Connestee Falls at midnight during a full moon you can hear Indian chants rising from the gorge at the foot of the falls.

The falls were named in 1882 by F.A. Miles. He named the falls after the legendary Princess.

There are more than 250 named waterfalls in Transylvania County. I will try to bring one each Wednesday, although I'll certainly not hike to some of the most remote ones.


Ruth said...

We have a lot of beautiful waterfalls over the Niagara Escarpment that are not as famous as Niagara Falls. I enjoy visiting them. I will be interested to read about the others you describe.

~Molly~ said...

Oh wow, I found your blog through a comment you left at Nature Remains. Love it!! My parents relocated from east Texas to near Asheville. We visit as often as we can.


Jayne said...

Beautiful... and what a haunting legend. :c)

Jotter Jan said...

Wonderful waterfall shots...and enjoyed the folk lore that went along with them!!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Ruth - escarpments are amazing and often have great waterfalls.
Strange - Thanks for visiting. I hope your parents are as happy in the mountains as we are.
Jayne - Yes, I love the legends. With a few word substitutions (Indian Brave for Indian Princess; cliff for waterfall, etc.) the legends are all alike. Pretty amazing suicide rate.
Jan - thanks

The Birdlady said...

Very nice photos - I particularly love the fall one. And the swallow story in the previous post made my heart sing!

Mary said...

You are so fortunate to have these waterfalls to admire... I'd need to drive a long distance to see such beauty! Your photos help me hear the roar and smell the moisture and flora. Thank you for the view and story behind them!

Unknown said...

Wow I wouldn't mind being in your area. Beautiful. Looking forward to seeing more.