Friday was supposed to be the last nice day of the holidays, so I decided to explore a bit farther afield in my quest for photography subjects. I had several targets today along the route to Saluda, North Carolina, including the trailhead for the new Poinsett Passage portion of the Palmetto Trail, and Pearson Falls.
My first stop was Poinsett Bridge. I was able to take a few long exposure shots using my new tripod…
I continued on up through the Greenville Watershed. This used to be a completely pristine area. Now miniature castles are starting to adorn the hillsides, thanks to the Cliffs development company. First Glassy Mountain, then Panther Mountain – I guess the rest of the Blue Ridge Escarpment will fall prey to millionares desiring a view.
Crossing into North Carolina and leaving the watershed, I turned right onto Mine Mountain Road, following signs for the trailhead. This was a road I had always wanted to explore, and now had a chance. The rolling foothills and coves had humble farms and homesteads, very different from the views to the west. I’m afraid it won’t be long before this area is also carved up by the Cliffs.
I soon found the trailhead at the Orchard Lakes Campground. I had planned to walk a bit of the trail, but the sign indicated that the better views would be from the other end of the trail. I just explored around the trailhead. There was a neat zip line that I was tempted to try. However, since I was by myself and probably wouldn’t be able to dial 911 in the event of something going wrong, I decided not to try it. Of course, it could just have been that my heavy frame made the zipline seat sing dangerously close to the ground.
I continued on Mine Mountain Road until it intersected with Pearson Falls Road. I was on the right track, and soon found myself at the entrance to the Falls park. I had been here once before, but the $3 entrance fee deterred me that time. This time I decided to go for it.
From the parking area, the trail winds about a quarter mile alongside the stream until it reaches the falls proper. Even at mid-day, during winter the sun does not get very far into this valley. There were ample opportunities for long exposure shots, and I stopped several times along the way.
Finally I got to the falls proper…
I think I like the exposure better in the left shot. The right one has the light on the water at the top blown out a bit.
After spending a bit of time at the falls, I headed on into Saluda. I remembered the first time I ever visited Saluda, many, many years ago. One ascends through the Greenville watershed to find this little community perched in the mountains, somewhat lost in time. The town has taken it’s quaint character to heart, and now caters to the tourist trade.
And finally, I left the town via Highway 176 north, crossing the Green River Gorge. The old bridge has been converted to a pedestrian bridge with views into the gorge…