Fulfillment Falls (Badger`s # 1000) – 11-18-2017

Being able to visit 1000 major waterfalls in only 4 years is quite a feat so, I am glad that I was invited and able to be there when fellow hiker Thomas ‘The Honey Badger’ Mabry completed this astonishing accomplishment. I am sure he could claim way more than 1000 during this time depending on what your definition of a ‘waterfall’ is but, knowing the Badger like I do I am sure he only counted the major ones and not every small falls he seen. Much like so many of the previous waterfalls he went to, the route to #1000 would not be an easy one. Badger chose a great location for this special occasion as it is not a well known falls and even the very few that know about them do not list them because, there is really no way to get to them without crossing private property. All of which would be difficult if not impossible to obtain permission for due to the seasonal use of the expensive homes there. I will also mention that there is no actual trails to these falls either but, that is pretty much the norm for most of the falls we go to.

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Thomas ‘The Honey Badger’ Mabry presents his #1000 waterfall, Fulfillment Falls !

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Almost a RAT > Patrol mark seen in the early morning sky as we entered into North Carolina at the beginning of out nearly three hour drive to the meeting place.

It was a cold and cloudy, morning as we departed from the meeting place in the Cashiers, NC area and the conditions would not improve much for the entire day. I recall seeing a frost line above us and a few particles of sleet blowing around early that morning. The first obstacle to overcome would be where to park multiple vehicles where there is no area near the starting point for it ! The answer to that was simply along the shoulder of the very busy two lane road ! This was a life threatening endeavor so I was glad to get off that road and on a smaller one lane residential road where the next task would be to figure out how to bypass the private property and get into the woods where I for one would be much more comfortable. We were a fairly large (and noisy) group and we did raise some eyelids as we passed by a couple of the smaller houses on the road walk in but, luckily there was no one around when we did our stealth maneuver around a particular parcel of private property which gave us access to the forest land and a big, steep hill to climb ! I was not happy to be climbing as I preferred to simply take the easy (and much shorter) way across the huge (and very flat) field that was private but, I went with the leader’s decision and was relieved when we were finally away from all that and were consumed by the dense forest.

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John Forbes on one of the few old trails we found in the area early into the hike.

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Following the Badger along one of the few old trails we would be on during this trip.

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The Badger deemed it necessary to take this selfie group shot as the four of us fell a bit behind the rest of the group at a special spot along the way ! (Photo by Thomas Mabry) (Badger, RAT, Little RAT, and John Forbes) left to right

Luckily we found some old trails that seemed to take us in the directions that we needed to be going although, getting to the top of this mountain seemed to go on forever. With one false summit after another we kept climbing until we eventually reached the summit. Along the way there was one really nice look off into the valley which was now far below us where the creek below the falls runs and a view of the opposing mountain range on the other side where Spencer and Scott had started when they came into this valley before on a previous trip as this would be a repeat trip to these falls for them. There was also a fair sized black water bog found near the top of the mountain which was very surprising for this high elevation.

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John treading lightly while recording at a mossy overlook

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Badger points the way at one of the only overlooks we would see on this day. The weather was not allowing many views.

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A large black bog found on top of a very high mountain. I am pretty sure this was above 4000 feet and no other water sources were any where near here.

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John Forbes, our resident Gnome, doing his famous ‘gnome pose’ getting some great height while precariously perched atop a small boulder surrounded by the black water of the high mountain bog.

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Looking down on part of this huge black bog area with nothing but sky all around as this was near the top of a very high mountain !

When everyone was nearly at the summit, John Forbes, my son Tyler and myself, followed Spencer to a higher point on the summit as we broke away from the main group (against Badgers advice not to) in order to check out a rocky knob we spied up there. It was a cool place and I am glad we put in the extra effort to climb up there as we not only found some nice rocks but, also a very gnarly tree. From there we bushwhacked down a steep descent and in a short distance was able to rejoin the others where we proceeded to find a way down and around a rather large rock spine of cliffs that was very steep. So steep in fact that Badger and I both got a bad case of ‘Badger A$$’ as we resorted to our usual ‘slide for life’ method of descent. We also saw a large rock shelter that had a cave like entrance below it so a few of the group climbed up to investigate it. Having expended what little extra energy I had on the previous side trip, I stayed below and watched.

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John and my son Tyler checking out the summit of the highest knob we would be on before descending down into the valley on the other side.

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John posing on the gnarly tree. You can see the huge top of it laying on the ground below.

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After checking out the high knob summit we continue to follow Spencer as we bushwhack off the top to find the others that were now well below us. Check out those feet !!

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Tyler waiting for some of the others to catch up to us as we make our way down a series of connecting ridges to get around some cliff obstacles as we descend into the valley below.

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View of the ones who went up this steep hill to check out the huge rock shelter under the series of cliffs that ran the top of that ridge

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Zoomed shot. I think this is Jack B ? There were others but, they were inside the rock shelter at the time.

Continuing to lose elevation very quickly, and the old trails now a distant memory, we found ourselves bushwhacking through some very thick growth as we continued down into the valley all the while trying to find the path of least resistance and hopefully taking the shortest route to the base of the falls. Many were using their GPS devices however, each one seemed to have a different idea of which way to go ! This caused the group to get spread out as everyone was going in a slightly different direction. I chose to stick close to Spencer since he had been there before and soon enough we could hear the creek below us. Knowing the falls were upstream and a couple of hollows over, we traversed the steep side hill and ended up coming out very near the falls. When we finally hit creek level we could almost see them. Before long the entire group made it to the base of this very remote and very awesome waterfall.

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My first view of the falls. You can see Spencer and some of the others as they are eagerly making their way to be the first arrivals at the base. John is adjusting his boot strings I believe ?

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Another distant view of the falls while I was resting and before I made my way closer.

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My first unobstructed view of these falls as it was starting to rain.

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Fulfillment Falls

With no signs of human traffic being there any time lately and lots of jungle like growth, it was hard and very slow going just to get up to the falls. Once there it was equally as hard to find places for this many people to setup for pics and viewing pleasure. Some of the group headed immediately to climb farther up to get close to the falls and even up onto them. This made it hard for the rest of us to get pics of the falls without people in them which is a downfall of hiking in large groups such as this. I got what pics I could from around the base trying my best to get some without people included and then I got some with people as I do like to have both. Spencer actually climbed the slick as snot rocks to get behind the veil of the falls which made for some nice scale pics that would show the size of the falls. My pics were not that good as it was very wet and had started to rain again when we got there. My lens was also fogging up which added to the difficulty.

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View of the others scrambling up the base of the falls while I allow Badger to take the sweet spot and get his equipment setup beside me.

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Spencer Clary carefully climbs the super slick angled rock to get behind the veil of the falls as John Forbes looks on

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John getting some close up action shots of Spencer behind the veil.

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Badger and I getting people shots at the falls,,,,

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Zoomed shot of Spencer behind the veil. He looks ‘fulfilled’ !

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Spencer behind the veil. I guess it was so slick it required two sticks to get there ?

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Spencer being fulfilled at Fulfillment Falls !

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This is a classic case of ‘Badger A$$’ and yes, it is highly contagious !

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Spencer provides scale to the size of these magnificent falls.

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Closer up of Spencer behind the falls

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A happy Badger joins a few of the others at the base of Fulfillment Falls

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A ‘group gnome pose’ was attempted !

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A more standard group shot although not everyone was in it.

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Finally a shot with no people in it ! The top looks out of focus due to the fog that was surrounding the top of the falls as it was raining lightly while we were there. It was also colder which made it hard to keep the lenses clear. (Taken with my larger camera)

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Taken with my larger camera

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Taken with my larger camera

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Taken with my larger camera

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A sweet shot of the falls with Scott and Pamela

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Another partial group shot at the falls with Spencer Clary, Andy Kunkle, Scott Burns, Pamela Bold Serenity and John Forbes (left to right)

After getting what I could from the lower front and giving Badger the time he needed to do the same, Tyler and I climbed up to join some of the others at the ‘up close and personal’ level of these magnificent falls. This was where I got much wetter ! Very slick rocks and several down trees to climb over made me work hard for the shots I got up there but, it was definitely worth it. I was one of the last to enjoy that area so I did get some shots of the rest of the group from behind the veil of these very vertical falls and they also got some pics of me there by myself as well.

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The reason for the main event. badger presents #1000, Fulfillment Falls

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Another in my series of ‘Badger presents his #1000 , Fulfillment Falls ‘

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A very fulfilled Badger at the base of Fulfillment Falls

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Badger at his #1000 Fulfillment Falls

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Side profile view of Fulfillment Falls

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Side profile view of Fulfillment Falls

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Side profile view of Fulfillment Falls. Perhaps the best picture I got of these falls. (Taken with my larger camera)

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Side view. Again, probly the best I took of these falls (with my larger camera)

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Getting up close and personal (and wet) with these falls

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Getting up close (and wet) at the falls !

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My view from behind the veil of the falls

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My view of some of the group as seen from behind the veil of the falls.

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Tyler waiting patiently on me to finish taking pics so we can eat something !

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Finally I get my chance in the spotlight ! Gnomin` at Fulfillment Falls ! (Photo by john Forbes)

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Me doin` some gnome posin` at the falls (Photo by John Forbes)

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Me doing a Gnome pose at the falls (Photo by Spencer Clary)

Tyler and I carefully climbed back down to the base of the falls where we joined the others and decided it was lunch time although, it was already much later than noon ! We had brought some smoked deer sliders we cooked at home so needlesstosay we were the envy of the others. All but John Forbes of course as he was given one that morning that he ate on the ride over ! He will agree that it is the best tasting deer that we have ever eaten. After a long break there it became obvious that it was getting late evening as the light was beginning to fade and we still had a long way to go to get out. From there it would be a creek whack as there were no trails and it was very overgrown. The going would be slow and tedious.

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Me munching down on a deer slider ! (Photo by John Forbes)

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The obligatory group shot ! (Photo selfie by Thomas ‘The Badger’ Mabry)

Finding the way downstream would prove difficult mainly due to the thick growth and no trails. Then add in the need to cross the creek a few times to get to what appeared to be an easier route on the opposite side, which was also not easy if one was trying to keep their boots dry as the water was fairly deep at this point. Again, everyone seemed to be going in different directions as several smaller groups were formed but, Tyler and I ended up at the back of the pack with The Badger and Ms Kitty as Badger and I are the oldest and most crippled up of the gang so, at this point of the journey we are usually in a lot of pain and tend to move much slower than the young ones of the group do. Fortunately we do not lack any tenacity or persistence and have a high capacity for endurance so, we may not be the first to come out of the woods but, you can rest assure that we will complete the journey ! This trip would be no exception to that rule and lucky for us we eventually did end up on a very old forest road of sorts which followed the last part of the creek out to the back end of the expansive private property not far from where we had started making a rather large loop. Just as I wanted to cross it at the beginning of our journey, I wanted to do so even more now that I was exhausted and not looking forward to yet another insanely steep hill climb and another long road walk that I was now being told would be required to get back to our vehicles. I almost did it and looking back I wish I had because it took the last bit of fortitude I could muster to climb out of the valley and complete the long up and downhill road walk. I am used to coming out in the dark anytime we hike with The Badger but, on this occasion we actually got back to the main road just before dark ! It had been a demanding outing for sure yet, an extremely rewarding one. I was happy to finally be back at my vehicle.

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Even though there are no visible signs of man and you are somewhere with no trails etc, you can always find something weird to let you know that someone has been there before you even though it was a long long time ago !!!

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Daddy RAT and Little RAT as we take a short break from making our way downstream from the falls on a thick ‘creek whack’. (Photo by John Forbes)

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Looking ahead at Tyler and Badger as we made it back to the main road just before the last bit of light faded.

Most of the group ended up for a post hike grub out at the well known Slab Town Pizza parlor in Cashiers, NC where a much deserved meal and drinks were in order. We celebrated the completion of Badger`s #1000 waterfall in grand style before we had to make the long, nearly three hour drive back home. It had been another memorable day spent in Nature with some noteworthy companions that will not soon be forgotten. It would take a few days to recover from this one but, that just gave us time to be thinking of the next big adventure. Until then,,,

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My post hike pizza from Slab Town

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A happy Tyler ‘Little RAT’ Tarpley chowing down on some pizza at Slab Town !

Posted on 18 March '18 by , under RATtreks.

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