Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

What Goes Down Must Come Up

June 26, 2009
The view from Overlook 1, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia.  June 23, 2009.

The view from Overlook 1, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia. June 23, 2009.

The picture above was taken from Overlook 1 at Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia.  The park contains six waterfalls, which made it a perfect place for Betsy and I to be on our anniversary.  I’ll tell you more about the park and the gorge itself in a future post.  Right now I simply want to say that the picture above was taken about 750 feet above of the floor of the gorge.  And I also want to direct your attention to the white water just to the right of center in the photo.  That white water is all that can be seen of Hurricane Falls from this overlook.

We had to be content with viewing the waterfalls from the rim because access to the floor of the gorge is by permit only.  So we walked along the North Rim Trail taking in the truly magnificent views.

When we got to Overlook 3 we saw a sign pointing to the trail and steps to a suspension bridge over the river above Hurricane Falls.  Since Betsy has more sense than I do, she said she would wait at the overlook while I hiked down to the bridge.  So off I went.

When I got to the bridge I admired the view and (naturally) took some pictures.  Then I noticed another sign pointing to steps leading down to the Hurricane Falls Observation Deck.  Having more curiosity than sense I started down this new set of steps.

Hurricane Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia.  June 23, 2009.

Hurricane Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia. June 23, 2009.

Before long I found myself on a deck about five feet above the floor of the gorge with the beautiful view of Hurricane Falls seen in this second photo.  As I took more pictures I decided that the hike down was definitely worth it.

It was about then that I realized that I was now some 570 steps below Betsy and that the only way out was up.  I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but the hike up took much longer than the hike down.  On Sunday I had told my son that I didn’t feel 67.  After only about 200 of those steps up I felt each and every day of those years!

A Valentine Day Hike

February 16, 2009
Betsy and George at Short Springs State Natural Area.  February 14, 2009.

Betsy and George at Short Springs State Natural Area. February 14, 2009.

As I mentioned yesterday, Betsy and I did  some hiking and waterfalling on Valentine’s Day.  It’s becoming something of a tradition for us.  In February there tends to be more water at some of the smaller waterfalls and the bare trees make it easier to find a waterfall when bushwhacking.

The longest hike we had on Saturday was at the Short Springs State Natural Area near Manchester, Tennessee.  Short Springs has a well-developed trail system which is both well-maintained and well-marked.  We hiked the Machine Falls Loop, which got us quite close to the base of Machine Falls.

Most of the time the trail was very moderate, although the descent into the canyon containing the waterfall was very steep.  There were several stone steps that would be difficult for my short-legged beautiful bride to climb on the way up.  To continue around the loop would be a longer hike, but what would the climb up out of the canyon be like?  We didn’t know.

But one of the nice things about hiking is that you meet some of the nicest people on the trail.  While we were admiring the stream below the falls, we met a boy scout leader who was familiar with the area.  (He’s the one who took the picture above).  He recommended continuing around the loop.  The ascent up Jesus Hill — so called because he felt that would be where he would meet Jesus when climbing up — was steep but contained no rocks to climb over.  We made it up the hill (slowly)  and had a nice hike around the rest of the loop.

Most of the time when hiking we have the trail to ourselves, which we very much enjoy — it’s a great way to feel close to God’s beautiful creation.  But once in a while we meet another hiker who shows us another aspect of that beauty.