Jim’s Falls

Waterfall GPS: 34.81697, -83.27185

Water source: Unmapped tributary to the Chattooga River

Height: Approximately 30 feet

This waterfall unfortunately is covered in downfall. What you can’t see under all the trees are the beautiful ledges and unique drops this waterfall has. Shown here is the upper 10 feet or so, and a shot from the base, showing all the downfall.

In Scott McGaha’s words, a tribute to Jim, and how the naming of this waterfall came to be:

“‘Have you ever heard of Longnose Creek Falls?’ That was the question Renee texted me. We were two newbies to waterfall chasing and we were already hooked and trying to see every waterfall we could find. She had come across a picture of it and we soon began looking for any information about it we could find. Our initial search yielded nothing, but eventually I came across an online article that would ultimately lead us to a great friendship with Jim Chaffins and his wife Chris.

The article told of a waterfall that flowed in to the Tugaloo arm of Hartwell Lake that unfortunately was surrounded by private property and thus required a kayak or boat to get to. Since neither of us owned either, and I knew there was a house close to the falls, on April 3rd, 2015, I set out to try and gain permission to view the falls via the private property. I learned from my dad that a friendly knock on the door can often lead to a pleasant conversation and new friend, so I simply followed my map along Longnose Creek and knocked on the first door I came to. There, I met a man named Jimmy Rohletter who said I could go to it on this side of the creek, but it would be better if I went over to the other side and to say he had given me permission if anyone asked. So that’s what I did, and as I went to turn down the old road he had directed me to, I saw a man standing in his yard close by so I went to tell him what I was up to. He was very friendly and said it was fine and so off I went. That was my first encounter with Jim.

After viewing the remarkable waterfall I made sure to go back and thank Jim again and ask if it would be okay if I came back with Renee. He said absolutely and thus began a wonderful friendship over the next 6+ years, time that I don’t think Jim ever thought he had remaining that day I met him.

Jim and Chris had moved to South Carolina from Indiana to let Jim live out his remaining years in peace in the cabin they had purchased up on top of the mountain adjacent to Longnose Creek Falls. Jim’s heart was failing him, his health was deteriorating and he had no expectations of living much longer. But after we became Facebook friends and he started to see the places Renee and I were visiting, a will to truly live was resurrected within Jim.

It was Renee who he became really close with and she pushed him to get in better shape if he wanted to go see some of the waterfalls he was asking her to take him to. And he did. And along the way he met a lot of new friends and saw more waterfalls than he ever imagined. And I truly believe he no longer thought about dying but only living and what he wanted to see. Sadly, on November 12th, 2021 Jim suffered a heart attack he would never really recover from and on December 23rd, 2021 he passed away in his sleep.

On Saturday, January 8th, 2022, Renee and I went searching for a potential waterfall she had been eyeing on LIDAR and as we neared our destination she said we’ll have to think of a name for it since the creek is unnamed. I said I’d try to think of something that wasn’t too stupid and in a moment it hit me: Jim’s Falls. She agreed it would be a nice tribute to our friend and that I would need to be the one to tell the story. So, forgive me for the long read, but Jim deserved more than a few words. And I’m glad he got a few more years than he expected.”

%d bloggers like this: