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Independence Weekend Trip to Gragg Prong

posted Jul 7, 2014, 7:25 AM by Justin P   [ updated Jul 24, 2014, 5:30 AM ]
For the Independence Day Weekend, we headed out to the Wilson Creek area again for some more waterfall fun.  Friday, we spent the day in Raleigh and went to Sandy’s parents for a cookout.  Then very early Saturday morning, we headed out to Wilson Creek, arriving at the Lost Cove Trailhead on FR-981 right at 9 o’clock.  We were meeting Josh and Marissa and the dogs, who had camped there the night before. They were arriving at the parking area right as we pulled up.  We got all our stuff and backpacked in about a half-mile along Lost Cove Trail (#262) following Gragg Prong downstream.  The campsite was just off the trail and was a really beautiful little spot, just above the creek with a small cascade nearby.  After getting our tent set up, we donned our daypacks and continued along the trail about a mile to the Upper Waterfall on Gragg Prong.

Although we had visited this waterfall before, we never had a chance to play in the water.  And arriving early, we had the waterfall to ourselves, at least for a little while.  We set up along the big area of exposed bedrock, changed into swimsuits, and blew up the inflatable turtle we had picked up from Walmart for just $5.  Although the turtle was for children only, with a maximum weight of 40 kg, it was quite large and we all were easily able to fit on it.  The only downside was that it took a while to inflate and deflate.  The lowest portion of this waterfall is a gentle slide and provides an opportunity for some easy waterfall-sliding.  Once the turtle was blown up, we took turns sliding down this lower section.  The water level wasn’t high and the slope is not steep, so it’s not the most exciting waterfall to slide down, but it was still a lot of fun.  After a few slow runs, we realized that we had to start at the top on the far side to slide the fastest.

The water was quite cold and I think everybody was a bit relieved that we could stay mostly dry sliding down.  Margo, the bull mastiff, also enjoyed playing in the waterfall, running down after us as we slid down on the turtle.  We ate lunch here and spent the better part of the morning and afternoon here, then headed back to the campsite.  On the way back, Josh knew of a “high trail” that bypasses two of the stream crossings on Gragg Prong, so we could keep our feet dry heading back.  On the last stream crossing, we were able to rock-hop across.  Margo just waded across in the water, but Willie, the rescue hunting dog, didn’t want to get his feet wet, so he actually rock-hopped across following where Sandy had stepped.  I had never seen a dog rock-hop before and was quite impressed.  We relaxed at the campsite for a little bit, then headed into Boone and had dinner at Coyote Kitchen.  Josh had gone to school at Appalachian State and was very familiar with the Boone area, so he suggested this restaurant.  The food was very good and they had a nice outdoor seating area, so the dogs could join us.  After dinner, we headed back to camp and managed to find quite a bit of firewood and built a nice fire when the sun went down.  While we still had some daylight left, we sat down at the creek and enjoyed the lovely view.  The rosebay rhododendrons were blooming and all the flowers along the creek made for a beautiful sight.

And a nice cascade added to the scene and provided tranquil white noise as we slept.

After sundown, we socialized around the fire for a while and then went to bed.  Sandy had to work Sunday evening, so in the morning, we broke camp and headed home.  Below is a video I made of the waterfall sliding: