Monday, September 17, 2007

Soco Falls Reprise

Way back on September 3, 2007, I recounted an attempted visit to Soco Falls. Warnings about steep banks, jagged boulders, broken glass, rattlesnakes and stinking nettles did not deter us. Impending darkness did.

From the glimpses I'd caught, and the photos I’d seen, Soco Falls was especially beautiful, a double falls where two streams meet. Like others before me I was astonished that such a treasure was suffering terrible neglect. The word that came to mind was "desecration."

An earlier start on a cool Saturday morning would be the time to complete the descent to the base of the falls. Pulling over at the unmarked space on the edge of the highway, I could see new activity underway. I peered over the guardrail, looked down the bank, and saw the foundations of a new observation deck for viewing Soco Falls.

Despite this welcome new undertaking, the path down to the falls was precarious…it was hands-and-knees-grab-the-trees to get down and back out.

And it was worth it. I managed to get some shots, thought not quite the ones I was after. That’s alright. I expect to get back there soon to try some earlier light and some different settings with this new and unfamiliar camera.

By then the maples might be adding a flash of color and the deck might be nearing completion. And I hope I remember to bring a garbage bag for carrying out some of the bottles and cans still littering Soco Creek. It's a unique and gorgeous place in need of a little more TLC.

[To find Soco Falls, get onto Highway 19 at Soco Gap. From the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway, go 1.35 miles toward Cherokee, and look for a narrow gravel pullout on the left. For the moment, the best route appears to be down the bank near the power pole at the end of the parking area.]

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