Nature Photography

Mannis Branch Falls

Following sunrise at Luftee Overlook, I decided to take the long way home – a scenic drive along Little River Gorge Road. At a point beyond Laurel Falls, I happened to observe two small waterfalls, barely visible through the trees. So, I pulled over and parked.

After a short hike through the woods, I arrived at the edge of Little River and found a spot to take a few photographs. Doing so, I noticed a taller waterfall through the trees in the distance. Later, I would learn the name – Mannis Branch Falls.

So, I thought, can I safely cross the river, and, if so, where to begin?

The current was strong, and, each time I stepped, pressure from the power of moving water would force my foot and leg away from me, downstream. This meant that I needed to be certain that my back foot was securely planted before stepping – which first entailed determining where I could safely step, and that I should expect to have my balance tested during the process. Carrying a heavy backpack was also a consideration. In addition, the riverbed posed issues. It wasn’t easy to see through the white water. When possible, the darker areas represented larger rocks, and were very slippery. Lighter areas were safer footholds, though less common, consisting mostly of small rocks and sand. I found myself constantly trying to avoid having a foot slip between the rocks. During the crossing, I was grateful that I’d found a walking stick to help maintain my balance – and, I used two walking sticks on my return! Live and learn.


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What made this experience most fun was the fact that I just happened to stumble upon this particular waterfall. If you look at my hiking page, you’ll see that I’ve visited many falls in the area. In each instance, I’ve researched and planned in advance. On this day, I winged it – good weather, there was water flowing, the falls were accessible, I took some nice photographs and I didn’t fall. Success!