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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:04 AM   #1
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Default Painter Creek Falls

Painter Creek is a lovely little stream in a remote corner of Sampson Mountain Wilderness, part of Cherokee National Forest.

There is no trail to the falls, but several old, unmaintained trails come close to the falls. So the puppies and I decided to head out there yesterday.

It's been several years since our last visit, and unmaintained trails tend to disappear over time. So we spent a lot of time climbing over or under fallen logs, creeping through rhododendron thickets, and wading mt streams. It was a really fun day, but camera had to stay in the pack a lot. So only a few photos...
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:06 AM   #2
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The "trail" begins by heading up Cassi Creek - a lush stream thickly bordered with Rhododendrons.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:07 AM   #3
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Stream pools were full of Water Striders, some already mating...
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:08 AM   #4
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Next we followed an old "trail" along (and mostly in) the East Fork of Cassi Creek. This fork has many small waterfalls.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:11 AM   #5
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Next we followed the "trail" on up a dry sandstone ridge. Here the path was thickly grown with young pines, and littered with fallen pine branches. There is supposed to be a good overlook on the ridge, but we did not find it. We did find some fine views of the sandstone cliffs.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:14 AM   #6
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Next our "trail" took us down the other side of the ridge, and down to Painter Creek. Painter is an old name for "Panther," or Mt Lion. This area seemed wild enough for a mt lion! We did see many wildlife signs, including lots of bear droppings. We also scared several grouse. Could not get any good "critter" pictures (thanks to my dogs scaring everything away), but did notice that the Wood Frogs have begun laying eggs in some of the pools here. (spring is coming!!)
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:16 AM   #7
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The vague trail we were following pretty much ends on down Painter Creek. But we followed the creek itself for another 1/4 mile or so, and suddenly came upon the 200 foot drop called Painter Creek Falls. It was much too steep and slippery to get down to a good photo spot, but here are a few images of the top of the falls.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:18 AM   #8
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There is supposed to be another way to get to the falls from another old, unmaintained trail starting below the falls. We may try that way next time, just for a different view. Also hope to be able to return in mid-Spring, to search for rare wildflowers. (There are just too many good places for spring flowers, and not enough days in the spring!)

Hope you enjoyed this hike, and hope you will share some comments, critique & suggestions!
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 6:01 PM   #9
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Very nice series I especially like the contrast of the moss and in several of the shots

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Old Feb 23, 2011, 9:51 PM   #10
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No Bears I take it or are they still sleeping? Greta shots!
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