Monday, December 7, 2015

December 3, 2015 - Schoolhouse Falls, Panthertown Valley

Today I met a couple of friends of mine for a quick trip to Panthertown Valley near Lake Toxaway, NC.  One friend - Hal - is from out of town and he was staying with Harry who lives near Panthertown.  We met at Harry's house and left from there.  Here's the Panthertown Valley section of my web site with more info and directions.

I hadn't been to this entrance to Panthertown since the parking area was improved.  It used to be a mess with vehicles only being able to park long ways.  Once the parking area filled, it was impossible to get turned around.  It now looks like this.

new Cold Mountain parking lot at Panthertown

The lane coming back to this area has also been graded and widened.  Today's destination was Schoolhouse Falls.  The trail begins just to the right of the kiosk in the above picture.

There's been a lot of rain in this area lately so we decided to take the side trail to get behind the waterfall first.  During normal flow, you can get to the same spot from in front of the waterfall by crossing the creek.  We made the right decision today - the creek was flowing over the stepping stones and it would have been a wet crossing. There was also a lot of water coming over the falls and the sound from back here was almost deafening.
Schoolhouse Falls from the left side

From here we had to go back to the main trail, then cross Greenland Creek on a bridge and take another trail to get to in front of the waterfall.  The sun was quite bright today and coming right over the waterfall, so the shots weren't that great - and the video was so-so as you can see at the end of this post.  There's a campsite in this area that gets used pretty frequently and someone has gone to the trouble to position the rocks into chairs.

Schoolhouse Falls from the front
camp site in front of the waterfall

There's also a trail that comes in from the right side of the waterfall to the area right next to that side of the falls.  On a drier day, you could just walk  behind the falls from one side to the other, but it would have been wet and slippery today.  Today there was a smaller bonus waterfall also because of all the rain.  It was flowing down the rock to the right of the waterfall.

bonus waterfall
Schoolhouse Falls from the right side

Schoolhouse Falls from behind

We spent quite a bit of time back here.  It was mostly them waiting for me to shoot stills and then video with both the GoPro and a6000.  Here's some of the footage of the falls.

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