by Anna O’Cain
When I say “I’m heading on a hunting trip,” many people in my town expect me to be
loading my gun, putting on camo, and heading out to a tree stand. They would be wrong because my favorite kind of hunting is done on a boat while I am wearing a swimsuit. Instead of wildlife, I’m hunting natural beauty. While some of these beauties are small and others are large, all of them are spectacular.
What are we hunting? You guessed it, waterfalls. While many refer to this activity as “waterfall chasing,” my family nicknamed it hunting. No need to bring ammo or camouflage. Cameras and life jackets will do the job. Waterfall hunting gives me the same adrenaline rush that others get from catching the biggest fish in the pond or shooting the deer that they have been watching all season on the camera. Waterfalls provide me with the same peacefulness that sitting in a tree stand does for others. The quiet, soothing sound of water droplets hitting against a rock
is relaxing to my soul.
One of my favorite adventures was with my family on Lake Jocassee in the upstate of South Carolina. We were camping for the weekend with friends at Devils Fork Campground.
One morning we loaded the boat with sandwiches and laughter and made our way out into the lake to begin waterfall hunting. Luckily my dad had a map so we knew in what direction to head. At first, we just rode up to the waterfalls and stopped to admire their beauty. As we came upon one of the falls, we hopped out of the boat on a mission to hike to the top. I was told to step on the green rocks because green means good, and the journey to the top is a slippery slope. When we finally got to the top, the view was simply breathtaking. My siblings and I shouted out to our dad, who stayed in the boat, that we were going to jump off the cliff. I remember being so scared, but finally summoning up the courage to take the plunge into the cold water. Just like the stories of fishing where the fish gets bigger and bigger, the waterfall gets taller every time we talk about it!
You do not have to have a boat to go waterfall hunting. One of my favorite waterfalls is accessible by road. I recall the first time I passed Rainbow Falls in Cleveland, South Carolina. Cars were lined up for what seemed like miles, so out of curiosity my family joined the crowd and started the short hike to the falls. Along the way, we saw a cross, representing the death of a hiker. At that moment in time, the journey to the waterfall became much more memorable. It is a smaller waterfall, but just as majestic as any other. Another intriguing waterfall is Issaqueena Falls near Walhalla. It is just beyond the Stumphouse Tunnel. Construction of the tunnel started before the Civil War but was never completed. Visitors can enjoy a short walk from the tunnel to the falls to view the 100-foot cascade. When in Greenville as a child, I would enjoy playing in Falls Park, a small waterfall on the Reedy River that runs through the downtown area. My sister and I would get wet and get out shivering, begging our mom to take us back to the hotel to change into dry clothes. Now, as a teenager, when I walk through Falls Park I hear the giggles and splashes of children that remind me of my childhood. Out of all the waterfalls I have been to, my favorite is not named. At Asbury Hills, a summer camp, my cabin mates and I went on a hike to clear our minds. While on the hike we began to hear water splashing onto rocks. That is when we realized we were approaching a waterfall. The journey was unlike any other because to reach the waterfall you must cross a wire bridge. Yes, a bridge made out of a single wire above your head and another one under your feet was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. We jumped in the pool under the cascade and shared laughter between friends. It was the perfect place to relax and meditate on God’s awesome creations.
Waterfall hunting is one activity that will always bring about new adventures. If your family is like mine and looking for an unforgettable journey, take them waterfall hunting. You never know what treasures you might find hiding beyond the next turn. Waterfalls are the backdrop to many of the memories closest to my heart. South Carolina has many natural resources such as glamorous beaches and extraordinary mountains, both of which I enjoy. Waterfalls, however, remain my favorite because they are the perfect combination of water, cliffs, fun, and adventure.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.