Dan and Hannah Hike to Melrose Falls in North Carolina

When Hannah and I travel, we look to hit the trifecta – sunshine hiking, competitive pickleball with folks who don’t take themselves too seriously, and evening wine with good company.  Today in Tryon, NC on the South Carolina border, we have ourselves a Meatloaf Day (and by that, I mean, two out of three ain’t bad).

Melrose yonah mt to tryon

Having played pickleball the three previous days this late October with our sisters and brothers of Yonah Mountain, Georgia, today we check the boxes of good company (our sister-in-law Becky and her guy Derek) as well as hiking with them into the Carolina mountains in search of Melrose Falls.

Chauffeuring us through their hometown of Tryon, NC and out route 176 on the way to Saluda, Becky and Derek take us to the trailhead in a mere fifteen minutes.  Though there’s parking for only two vehicles there, we safely park on the far side of route 176.

Melrose start of trail D, B, H

Becky, Hannah Banana, and Derek as the trail begins

Passing by the trailhead boulders and around the metal gate, we ascend quickly into the mountains.  Hiking on conservation land administered by Conserving Carolina, we pass the turn to the trail to the falls for a looksee assent to the abandoned Southern Pacific railroad tracks above the falls.  Stepping carefully on the railroad ties, we soon find our path engulfed by kudzu – the dreaded Asian vine that is overwhelming the American South.  Watch our path on the tracks disappear over the next four photos.

Melrose 1A tracks

Melrose 1B H on tracks

Melrose 1C kudzu tracks

Kudzu is winning.

Melrose 1D more kudzu on tracks

Kudzu wins!

Kudzu is a plague on the hillsides and lives of Southerners.  Nasty for the ecosystems it invades, it smothers other plants and trees under a blanket of leaves, dominating all the sunlight and keeping other species in its shade.  Introduced from Japan into the United States, kudzu was initially planted to stop soil erosion.  Since kudzu can grow up to 60 feet per season, or about one foot per day, the best way to fight it seems to be with Billy and Betty – goats that is.  Currently there aren’t enough goats on God’s green earth to handle the tsunami of kudzu.

Melrose kudzu image

Kudzu and more kudzu

Melrose kudzu map

Smothered by kudzu, the railroad ties beneath our feet are camouflaged and footing is uncertain; we U-turn back to the initial trail to the falls.

The ¾ of a mile rocky trail goes up and down the mountainside to the falls.  For the final 300’, the path drops steeply toward Melrose Falls which has us been descending on all fours.  Never perilous, though slow-going, we arrive at the boulders above the falls.  We are serenaded by nature’s watery chorus.

7 thoughts on “Dan and Hannah Hike to Melrose Falls in North Carolina

  1. Thanks for sharing once again. Wow that Kudzu is voracious. Makes our bittersweet look like a minor problem, which, of course, it isn’t

  2. One foot per day — and I thought our pole beans grew fast. What an amazing, and frightening, photo of kudzu overtaking track, trail, and trees. Like Meatloaf sang, “you took the words right out of my mouth” about the need for more goats on our planet.

  3. Hi to the Travelin’ Rothermels! Oh, I was looking for the water – but hiking with friends in itself is a big trifecta to me!!!! The kuduz is awful – I can’t imagine Wisconsin coated in that stuff, I’ve read about it for years-unbelievable that we don’t have enough goats to win.

    Last night we shared some time at Pam’s yearly Christmas party for 23 of her “closest friends”. These gatherings seem far more important than they used to. Tonight 4 ladies from the ‘hood’ will attend the Messiah performance, 25 pc orchestra and and 60 voice choir, then have wine “apres” at a friend’s who sings in it. Pretty active, eh? (well, ok – I’ll walk Tigger)

    When you and beautiful Han have a glass of wine, think of us, as we toast your health and joy!

    Cheer, d


    • Thanks for checking in. Life is good, and Pam’s party is another example of that. Glad the kids are in the ‘hood. With more than a foot of snow on the ground, we will toast your health and our friendship tonight in front of our propane fireplace.

  4. Pingback: Dan and Hannah Hike the Bluff Trail at the University of California, Santa Barbara 2020 – over60hiker

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