The week had been absolutely beautiful. After the rains of last week this was a welcome change. Now we had clear October skies, the kind that make me love fall. It was also warm, and seemed like the perfect opportunity for a paddling trip.
I ran down my list of easy solo paddling venues. There were a couple that piqued my interest, but what I really wanted to do was paddle up to Hooker Falls on Cascade Lake. I was hoping that fall colors would make for some scenic kayaking.
I headed up to Hendersonville, then took Kanuga Road west toward Brevard. A few miles past the turnoff for Dupont Forest I saw the sign for the Cascade Lake Campground and headed that direction.
The campground provides the only public access to the lake, and that access is strictly regulated. There are only a few public non-camping spaces available for day use. Fortunately, it wasn’t a busy day, so I paid my $5, off loaded the boat at the ramp, then found my assigned parking space. I was ready to get on the water.
I had paddled this lake only once before. Brian Goess and I come up a couple of years ago over Memorial Day Weekend. At that time it was crowded with campers and day use folks out in kayaks and canoes. Today I pretty much had the place to myself. I set out with a bit of color showing in the trees lining the small lake.
The paddle up to Hooker Falls is only about a mile from the boat ramp. In that length, the lake narrows down to river size and takes several bends before reaching the falls.
You hear the falls before you see them. The river bends back to the right, and the falls appear.
There were quite a few people hiking down from the Dupont Forest parking area. I don’t think their view of the falls was quite as nice as mine, though.
I paddle over to the side opposite from the hiking trail. There is a calm cove with a bit of an eddy. For a long time I just hung out there and listened to the roaring water.
The water level was higher than I’d seen it in, and I didn’t want to get as close as I had last time. Even so, it’s easy to surf the waves coming off of the falls, basically hanging out in one spot with just a bit of effort. As I surfed about a dozen feet off of the base of the falls, mist started coating my GoPro camera lens.
It was a bit strange. I would paddle away from the falls, then turn around and come back. It was as if they were drawing me to them. Eventually I broke away and headed on back. The lake opened up a bit.
I paddled along the shore opposite the campground, but didn’t go too far. I came to the remains of an old elaborate homestead.
I hadn’t been out for long, but decided to head on back anyway. It was a short trip, but it sated my paddling appetite…for a bit. Here’s a short video showing my approach to the falls.
Speaking of appetite, I finished up by driving back through Hendersonville and having and Octoberfest lunch at Haus Heidelberg.
One last thing…
This was the start of the Fall for Greenville Weekend. I don’t like standing in line for food, so this isn’t one of my favorite festivals. However, we had reservations for the Lazy Goat downtown. These were easy to get, as most people were out at the festival. We then wandered around town watching the evening crowds and listening to some of the bands. It was a great day to live in Greenville.