For many of us the sounds of water rushing off of rocks and ledges and down into the water is a soothing sound. So much so that we annually spend millions of dollars on fountains that go in our houses to replicate that sound. It's no wonder that when out in nature and we have a chance to get close to waterfalls we do. After all there are fewer things in nature so powerful yet so amazingly beautiful and brilliant that we can just sit for hours and enjoy them.
Our state is so blessed with so many falls. There are several hundred all over the state with the majority being in the NC Mountains. The largest majority lie with the Transylvania area. You could spend weeks here and not see every fall. But if you are here and plan on seeking out a few, you should. As I stated early many can be accessed by pulling into a parking lot or on the side of the road and walking a few feet. Making many of the falls here handicapped accessible. So if falls viewing is on your itinerary here are a few tips.
Go to www.visitwaterfalls.com. This is the Brevard CVB and they will be glad to send you out a visitor’s guide which includes information on the falls. Many of the smaller hotels and B&Bs have printed directions to the local falls. Just ask when you arrive. If you would rather have someone else do all the work so you just have to show up then go to www.tourwaterfalls.com. Millers offer several packages to the falls including some falls that are otherwise inaccessible to the public.
If you are heading out on your own get a copy of Kevin Smith’s NC Waterfalls..Where to Find them…How to Shoot Them . This is a compressive guide to the waterfalls them self and how to take pictures of them. Just like the book says. You can get one from your favorite book seller or directly from the publisher at www.blairpub.com.
1. Kevin actually has his own web site at www.kadamsphoto.com. You can find out more about Kevin here and about the falls. Map out the falls before you go and try to see all the falls in the same area in one trip. This will save you time and gas. Kevin also updates waterfall information so you will know if the falls have been purchased by a private company or vice versa.
2. If the falls are on private land and there are "NO TRESPASSING" signs all over the place, then that does mean you. If public access is granted then please obey all rules. That way you don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
3. Dress accordingly. The mountain weather can be deceptive in the spring and fall. It is often made up of comfortable days that drift into cool and downright cold evenings. So dress in layers so you can add or subtract clothing as the weather dictates.
4. If you plan on hiking to trails then either hiking boots or shoes with a very thick and sturdy tread are required. The falls often give off a mist making the ground very slippery.
5. Hiking sticks are very, very helpful.
6. As are backpacks with bottles of water and snacks for longer hikes.
7. Bring plenty of film and batteries.
8. If you want to get into the water at the falls when possible, I would suggest an extra change of clothes and water shoes.
9. Take only pictures and leave nature as it is. Things like pine cones, leafs, stones and such that are already on the ground are fine. Many crafters use these in their hobby. But please do not pick wild flowers or deliberately break limbs off trees.
10. In summer sun screen and bug repellent are a good thing to have.
11. In the winter take extra precautions when getting to the falls. Remember no waterfall picture is worth loosing your life over.