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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:11 AM   #1
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Default Upper Sill Branch

Had a chance to return to the Sill Branch area a few days ago, with the goal of locating Upper Sill Branch Falls. Have seen & photographed (and posted here) the lower falls many times - the lower falls are easy to get to. But have not had time or good directions to find the upper falls.

Sill Branch is in the Sampson Mountain Wilderness Area of Cherokee National Forest. Here are a few views looking into the wilderness area, from some rural landscapes in nearby Limestone Tennessee.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:16 AM   #2
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Trail to Upper Sill Branch Falls begins on Clark's Creek Road. We soon reached a fork in the trail, left goes on the North Fork to the main falls, right leads to the South Fork. South Fork of Sill Branch is a lovely mt stream, with many pools and riffles...
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:18 AM   #3
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Reaching the upper falls means leaving the trail on an old, unmarked logging road. This path is no longer maintained, and so is full of blowdowns, rhododendron thickets, and witch's hobble. There were some fine views across the ridges, but lighting conditions were not good for good photos. Will return on a bright day to photograph the views.
Part of the old road led through some very dry pine forests, where the wintergreen plants are thriving.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:20 AM   #4
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Our path led us back down to the stream. We saw several sets of bear tracks in the thin snow - bears were using same path that we were!
Here it was a bit higher elevation, a bit shadier, and there was more ice in the creek.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:21 AM   #5
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There were also many more delightful splashes and pools in the dark recesses of the little stream.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:23 AM   #6
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The old, unmaintained path did indeed lead us to the upper falls. Not a lot of flow, but a fine 50 foot drop across the rich Sampson Mountain sandstone.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:25 AM   #7
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Had to race back down the trail to avoid approaching darkness and approaching snowstorm, so camera and tripod returned to the backpack. But am looking forward to revisiting this area in the spring, to check for new records of rare wildflowers, and to enjoy the richness of this wilderness!

Hope you enjoyed the hike, and that you will post your comments, critique & suggestions!
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 10:23 AM   #8
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Wow you really know how to shoot water and falls, nice images, also enjoyed the first and last shots.

Thanks

Hans
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 7:17 PM   #9
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Another delightful ramble through your beautiful mountains Mole. It may be that I'm getting tired of winter, but with all your fabulous photos of the stream and falls, I kept thinking, what a wonderful place to take a dip on a hot summer day. I certainly wouldn't want to jump in there right now!
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 11:54 PM   #10
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Love your ice pictures (as always) along with your water falls and other stream-side photos. What beautiful terrain!
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