The Appalachian Queen Falls – 1-24-2017

With the Camel Servicer`s season now in full swing and water levels to match, our next run would be to see another one of Larry`s latest and grandest discoveries that we ended up calling the ‘Appalachian Queen’. With a full crew including Larry Jarret, John Forbes, Tommy Warden, my son Tyler Tarpley and myself, we were anxious to meet this previously unknown, unnamed, dot-less mistress that Larry had spoken so highly of. Getting to her address was difficult and required navigating some extremely steep terrain and finessing of some private property. In other words, another typical Camel Servicer type run ! She did not fail to deliver on this day as we could hear her calling out to us loudly from over a half a mile away ! It took awhile to find a safe route down the cliffs and steep scree slopes to reach the swollen stream but, we soon would be at water level where getting upstream to her was equally as hard. She was angry on this day and we could barely hear each other talk over her deafening roar. I was instantly blown away with my first view of her and I could not wait to get closer.

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The Appalachian Queen Falls

As we made our way towards the main falls we passed by a dead deer who apparently had the misfortune of being overtaken by swift flowing water and may have actually been swept over the falls. If this can happen to an animal this strong and in its element, then it could certainly happen to one of us if any mistakes were made. Once we finally got up to the base of the falls we were blown away by the raging power of the flood stage water. Crossing the creek was very dangerous and the spray from the falls made it nearly impossible to get any clear pictures. I could only live in the moment and know that I would be coming back on another day when the conditions were not so extreme.

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Finally at creek level and on approach to the falls. The sound was LOUD !!!

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Poor unlucky deer. Pretty sure Bear Grylles would have eaten some of this !

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Here you can see Larry making his way towards the falls and if you look closely at the top center of the pic you can see a small part of the upper falls coming in from the hard left !! Those upper falls are even higher than these falls !!!!

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A grim reminder to be careful and watch your step when the water levels are this high !

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Looking across the base of the falls I could barely see Tyler`s orange gloves as he stands in on the other side to show some scale to the size of these amazing falls.

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If you look close across the base of the falls you can see Tyler who somehow got across the creek ! (he shimmied across downstream on a small fallen tree !)

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Trying to get up close to the falls

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The main falls

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The Appalachian Queen in all her glory !!

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The Appalachian Queen (Photo by Tommy Warden)

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The Appalachian Queen (Photo by Tommy Warden)

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A happy gnome poses for the queen !

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I did a gnome pose myself for the Queen !! (Photo by Larry Jarret)

The falls are very tall and there are upper drops that you can barely see from the base that make it even taller. It was not possible to get up to the upper levels where the creek comes in to the top of these falls in a hard 90 degree turn due to the high water levels and wet cliffs that have to be climbed. This would have to wait for another day. Those falls are just as high or higher and keep going out of sight in a continuous set of drops. I can not wait to see them ! The next series of photos were taken with my larger camera despite nonstop wind and spray from the falls:

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The main falls

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Isolated parts of the main falls

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Isolated parts of the base of the main falls

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Every part of these falls was awesome.

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It was impossible to keep the water off my lens

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When there is this much water, regardless of the light I have to shoot dark with my camera and it still does not work.

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The main falls

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The Appalachian Queen Falls

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Main falls

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Group shot (minus Tommy) (Photo by Tommy Warden)

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Bidding farewell to the Queen (Photo taken by Tyler Tarpley)

We enjoyed these awesome falls for as long as we could stand the intense cold wind and spray off the falls before heading back downstream and back up a seriously steep hill to get around yet another set of cliffs where the next set of falls, the queen`s sister resides. This was not any easier to get to but, Larry led the way and soon I could hear and look down and see the next target for the day. Not as tall or wide as the queen but, royalty nonetheless. Again crossing the stream was dangerous and the massive wind and spray from the falls made it impossible for me to get any clear pics. It did not matter as I was living in the moment knowing I was seeing something that no modern eyes had seen in a long time. There is no documentation or photos anywhere of these falls and after speaking to some of the old timers in the local community we could find no knowledge of them. I guess no one has had any business being down there for a long time now. This makes it all the better.

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Getting a pic of the steep terrain

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On approach to the Queen`s sister falls

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Slowly getting closer to the Queen`s sister

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Larry at his amazing new discovery !

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The Queen`s sister falls

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If you look close you can see Larry on the other side of the falls

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Can you spot the Gnome in this picture ?

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In case you could not find the gnome in the last pic, here he is unmistakable at the top right of the falls. This adds some scale as to the size of these killer falls !

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Our very own Gnome (John Forbes) attempting to last 8 seconds riding a wild Tuantuan at the base of the falls !!

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Close up shot of John who has now broke and tamed the wild Tuantuan !

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John gnome poses for the Queen`s sister in the heavy mist and spray

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Taken with my larger camera, there was no way to keep the spray off the lens for even a second.

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using my larger camera I did not get one single picture that was not covered with water

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Taken with my larger camera, you wont hear me say this often but, i can not wit to come back during lower water levels !

We stayed at these falls for as long as we could but, the cold and wet finally forced us to leave. I was not looking forward to the insanely steep climb back out of there and the long circuitous route we had to use would take awhile yet, we did find some very interesting land features and rock formations which helped make it much more enjoyable. It had been another mind blowing day with my fellow Camel Servicer`s that we owed all to Larry Jarret with his tireless efforts and uncanny talent to find so many beautiful unknown falls that he only shares with a chosen few that he knows he can trust to keep them secret in order to protect them from the masses. I can not wait to get back to the queen`s lair and climb to the huge upper falls that hide in her balcony. Until next time,,,

UPDATE !!! : As of the Fall season of 2017 Larry did a solo trip back to the falls and was able to climb high enough on both sides to get some amazing photos of the huge upper falls that are just beyond the top of the Appalachian Queen ! He has graciously shared the following pics from that incredible day :

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Side view (taken from river right  side)  of a part of the upper drop at the top of the Appalachian Queen Falls (Photo by Larry Jarret Nov 2017)

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The upper falls located right at the top of the Appalachian Queen Falls. (This was taken from the other side (river left) by Larry Jarret, Nov 2017)

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Another one of Larry`s pics showing even more of the upper falls (Photo by Larry Jarret)

Posted on 27 December '17 by , under RATtreks.

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