It was predicted to be a beautiful December day with warm temps so my friend Bol’Dar and I decided we would go back to the cliffs on Whitehouse Mountain that we call ‘Stonehenge’. This time we would be accompanied by Joe Parrot, an old friend whom we had not heard from in at least 15 years. If you read my blog from 12-3-2011, you will recall that we had actually thought of Joe while climbing the Middle Spring Ridge Trail, wondering what had happened to him. Low and behold he showed up at the Rat`s Hole several days later ! We all met at Hairnt-quarters around 9 am and after stopping for coffee we started our adventure at the trail-head in Rocky Fork by 10 am. The sun was starting to rise above the ridges as we made our way up the old road beside Rocky Fork Creek that had very impressive water levels which made the cascades very enjoyable to see and photograph. We noticed some recent bulldozer work and patches of new gravel along the road and someone had a truck and small trailer parked inside the gate. We later heard a four wheeler making several trips back and forth through the valley and by the time we made it to the summit we heard a rifle shot. It was assumed that someone with a key to the gate was hunting on the last day of deer season. After checking out the cascades I pointed out the place where I had been wanting to venture up the hill at, that I had calculated would be the best place to reach the bottom of the Stonehenge Cliffs. At that time Bol’Dar just shook his head as if to say “Well you COULD get there that way, but you`d have to dig way down’ !
Although I had recently visited the Devils Creek area in February of this year, my waterfall addicted friend Dave Aldridge had been antsy for us to take him there to see the multitude of waterfalls that form as the creek flows out the lower part of the steep and rugged gorge. Although it was a very chilly Saturday, my friend Bol’Dar and I decided that since Dave was available for a hike and since the water levels were at a respectable level from some recent rainfall, that we would take him to the waterfall mecca that only few people have seen. As I have mentioned before, these falls are protected from having very many visitors due to their inaccessibility not to mention they are not very well known and there is not any information available about them on the internet. Having found them some twenty odd years ago during a trip to Lost Cove, we have been visiting them infrequently ever since. Starting around 9am from Hairntquarters, we were hiking up the tracks by 10am. PLEASE NOTE: It is very dangerous not to mention illegal to walk on railroad tracks !!!! If you choose to do this, please do so at your own risk !!!!
It has been many years since I did any hiking in the Horse Creek area and even longer since I have visited the falls on Pete`s Branch so, my friend Bol’Dar and I decided we would take advantage of the recent rains and get some decent pics of the falls. This seemed to be a good plan as the weather was fair for an early December day and the water levels had risen due to some recent rainfall in the days prior, however, this turned out to be not such a good idea. It seems we had not given any thought to it being the peak of bear hunting season and we found ourselves in the middle of at least a dozen trucks and even more hunters with their guns and hunting dogs all trying to kill a bear. As we walked up the rough forest road, we were passed by a few trucks in a hurry to get somewhere and we were told that it might not be a good idea for us to be walking there as they informed us there was a bear being chased in our direction which includes lots of hunters with guns. We were also reminded that we were not wearing orange as is required by law during this time of year and that my black pack would resemble a bear from a distance ! Of course this did not scare nor hinder us and we continued our trek towards the falls, stopping to check out the many cascades found along the way.
For over 20 years I have been telling about a pond on No Business Knob but, I can always see the doubt and disbelief in peoples eyes when hearing that story so, the time finally came when I decided a trip was in order to revisit the pond to not only verify its existence (as I had no pictures of it) but to also prove to myself that I did not imagine it ! My friend Bol’Dar was also anxious to see this pond because after hiking the Appalachian Trail across the knob and having climbed off trail to the summit of this gnarly hill where it is apparent that being aptly named, one has ‘no business’ being there, it is really hard to imagine a pond being anywhere in an area so steep and rugged. I had discovered this pond many years ago quite by accident when attempting to find a trail that would lead into the Devils Creek Valley in hopes of not only finding an easier way to get there but also eliminating having to walk so much on the railroad tracks. Of course we now know that there is no easy way to this rugged and pristine wonderland and perhaps that is a good thing as many times inaccessibility is Natures way of protecting some of her most prized treasures.