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11/5/2011
  Arrived at a pullover on Hwy 21 around 5:30 a.m....which was a bit early even for me since sunrise was around 7:30. I assume this is the access some use for Paradise Falls, but I'm not sure. I eventually strolled into the forest at 6:30....and it was quite dark. There was a semblance of trail but it was lost quickly and I found myself plodding through an unfamiliar area with gps guidance. It was foggy as well...temp 45 and cloudy. At some point before hitting the creek I smelled an animal...not sure what...but very much like a horse...although I'm sure there were no horses out there. What do bears smell like...?...for I have smelled this before in the woods. Boen Gulf Branch has 3 forks and I was on the middle one. The creek was essentially dry but had some trickle flow here and there. There are many small falls and lots of boulders. I arrived at the lip of Paradise Falls and was disappointed to find a couple of dead trees hanging down in front of the falls. I whipped out my folding saw and....no wait...I just imagined doing that. Skirting the falls on the left was a might bit steep but not too difficult to accomplish. There was but a ribbon of water spilling down the rock face and it was not very photo worthy...so onward ho. The leaves in the valley were past peak while the leaves on the ridges were probably at peak. It was still lovely even though the cloudy skies made the colors less than optimal. I followed down as far as where the right fork came in and followed it up. I chose not to go all the way to where some other well known falls are located such as Magnolia, Stahle and Woods Boys. Instead I took a left up another hollow that had some great bluffs and some falls as well. From there it was through the woods and back to the highway where I was nearly run over by a van passing a truck. I was walking on the left side against traffic just on the edge of the pavement and was amazed that this person would pass like that...they were coming from behind me so I expected nothing...yet was missed by about a foot....some people! Total distance around 6.75 miles and I was done by 2:00. I had never seen this area and was much impressed. This is an area that will see much of me in the future.

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