I made it back to Yellow Branch Falls, and I made sure I had my camera this time! The second time around, the trail was less heart attack-causing, but I was still pretty soaked and winded by the end. It's about 3 miles, round-trip. It's a gorgeous hike, though, and it's probably my favorite waterfall yet.
To get to the trail, you park at the Yellow Branch Picnic Area. It's really pretty, and I have yet to see anyone actually picnic-ing there. Were I going to be around longer, I would totally have a shindig out there. There were lots of picnic tables scattered about, but the main pavilion is awesome and had a fireplace!
When you start off your hike, you start on a little half-mile nature trail, and you have to cross a creek a few times. There were always little stone stairs and stepping stones to get you across, though.
About halfway through the nature trail, the Yellow Branch Falls trail goes off to the side. It's a little under an hour to get to the falls from when you leave the parking area, and it's such a gorgeous hike. I thought it was fairly long, and pretty hilly and narrow, but the first time I went to the falls there were several children and three dogs there. That kind of put a damper on my manly hiking adventure.
This time I passed about 8 people, in three different groups going out as I was going in. At one point, I passed a couple leaving and the guy goes, "Look, there's a snake!" It was little, though, and there were other people around so I didn't want to whip my camera out, or run away screaming... which were my initial responses. The other people I passed were a group of teenagers who had obviously been swimming, and a family of three. Passing all these people worried me, as I was afraid there would be a bunch more at the falls. When I got there, though, I had them ALL TO MYSELF! It was awesome. Awe. some.
I loved being able to play around on the rocks, get wet, and be a kid without anyone there to see. I spent a solid 45 minutes there just crawling around on the rocks and sitting there watching the falls. I even saw some wildlife... and by wildlife I mean some minnows, a moth, and some birds.
I headed back a little before 7PM to give myself enough time to not get lost in the woods in the dark. On the way out, I made a friend:
He was kind enough to hold still long enough for me to change my camera batteries and proceed with a 10-minute photo shoot. I named him Hans... he just looks like a Hans. I would have been tempted to snatch him and bring him home and love him, but I'm not sure what kind of lizard he is, and I don't have any of my lizard-keeping equipment in this state. Besides, I was in his home, and it's rude to walk into someone's living room and kidnap them.
So I think this was my favorite waterfall adventure yet, and quite possibly one of the best experiences I've had in SC. I'll probably go back just because I like the hike, love these falls, and it's familiar now so it's a good after-work excursion.
I shall leave you once again with a picture of me. Not too awkward this time, but I totally look Photoshop-ed in. I'm not. I promise.