Tuesday, November 18, 2008

High and Dry on the West Fork, Part Four

For purposes of comparison, I present three photographs taken at the High Falls on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, and all from roughly the same position relative to the upper portion of the falls. The first photo below (courtesy of WCU Special Collections) was posted recently on The Southern Highland Reader.
For a sense of perspective, note the hikers in the middle left of the picture.

The next shot was taken November 15, 2008. Perhaps the recent rains contributed to a greater stream flow than I had expected. Obviously, it doesn’t compare to the volume of water that flowed prior to completion of the Glenville (Thorpe) Dam in 1941.

I will guess that the final shot of the upper portion of the High Falls was taken during the flow test conducted in June 2001.


Steve said...

Can you share any information on directions to where you parked to begin your hike to High Falls? I assume that it was private property. Were there any no trespassing signs posted? I have seen that there is eventually to be a trailhead on the road crossing Thorpe Dam, but I assume that is not how you got there. Any informaton would be greatly appreciated.



GULAHIYI said...

You know, I was going to address that point, and get into the reasons why I was a little sketchy.

1) I understood it to be private property, though I managed to avoid seeing any No Trespassing signs on the route I took. Even though the trails looked well-used, I prefer not to incriminate myself. (Actually, this is the least of my reasons to be coy.)

2) I've been in Cullowhee 30 years and nobody ever told me how to find the High Falls. Call me perverse, but why should I make it any easier for someone else than it was for me?

3) There are a few wonders around here that aren't mapped and documented to death. And to the extent that they are still somewhat obscure, I prefer to keep it that way.

4) I greatly admire the late Tom Fowler, who wrote a guide book to NC places. He believed in leaving out enough details so that the reader would still have a sense of discovery upon arriving at the places of which he wrote. More about that at:

Maybe I'm a little weird (I KNOW I'm a little weird), but THAT'S why I didn't provide details. I'll say this - I was relying on an article I found in the WCU student paper, which identified the road to take, but nothing else. From there I relied on a topo map and my intuition (aka "the Trail Gods").

All that being said, (and because you asked so nicely) I'll give you two numbers that will answer your question precisely - and provide more information than what I started with:

1158, 1.2

There are other ways in there, I'm sure. But that's how I did it. Good luck and let me know what you find!

Steve said...

Thanks for the info. This should help. I had noticed the road on the map. I understand your reluctance to give out too much info. It might be a while before I get a chance to check things out since I live just east of Raleigh. I don't get up that way as often as I would like, but who knows, with gas prices going down, maybe I can get up sometime soon. Last winter I went up for 4 days during February and I'm hoping to maybe do the same in 2009. I guess I've made 6 or 7 trips to the mountains so far this year.

Again thank for the help and keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog. I love those distant hills.