Tuesday April 23, 2019
Hiking Day!! Time ticked quickly by as we got ready for the day it was 11:30 by time we started down the hill. Stopping for the grandeur viewpoint over looking those sweet Georgia hills and the hell of down we had.
Looking over the top of this massive 729 ft waterfall and all the power behind it I was chomping at the bit to start the 425 steps down with various different angled views of the beauty. So in total there is 604 steps starting from very bottom to the top. Some visitors like to just go so far down from the top snap their pics and get back up sparing themselves the thigh burn. To experience you have to do the whole thing.
The best point is the bridge, following along the width of the waterfall so close you get cooled by the mist and epic shots.
While trying to take it all in someone made us aware of a baby bear right below us munching and sheltering among the rocks. Where is mama was my first thought? I’m really glad no one had a choice but to keep their distance and use the zoom. Sincerely bothers me when people disregard the fact that these animals with national and state parks are WILD! and unpredictable. I mean if your a parent think about your reaction when an unknown someone messes with your kid.
We snapped some pics and kept onward down the stairs. On the way the bear kept popping up thru the brush closer and closer to the trail.
Stopping at the final viewpoint we met this outgoing friendly family who in exchange for picking their brains about their home state of Florida, I helped them with a family photo.
Short distance from there the stairs ended at Reflection Pond, a hot spot for trout fishing. Taking a break in the welcoming shade we game planned our route of attack on the uphill. We opted to continue on to Visitor Center .6 mile hike down creek trail. Colors popped everywhere between the red clay, spring greens, and multi flowering buds of various plants. Spring has been here……sharp comparison to home.
Visitor center offered history of the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail. A trail I will one day take my family on a thru hike. Phoenix needs to be at least 6 as that is the cut off age for people allowed at the top of Mt. Katahdin, the ending point for those nobo thru hikers. Back to the offerings of the visitor center, its a typical gift shop with knick knacks, shirts, camping items and ice cream! Plus a small room with aquariums showcasing various snakes in the area.
Behind the center sits in glory the brick arch that represents the beginning for many thru hikers of the AT, the Approach Trail. I was giddy daydreaming about the day we were taking our real start photo and all the emotions that would be flowing. To accomplish something so tremendously hard to achieve would be a life changer.
Now what comes down must go up right. The mile long East Ridge Trail back to the falls overlook seemed to be the worlds biggest and never ending hill. Never leveling off once just a constant battle uphill taking you through a beautiful wooded area out to a severely washed out and rocky roadway. We were well covered from the sun the whole time till a section of completely exposed trail, the heat swept in instantly. Phoenix was having a difficult time so I picked him up and burnt every last bit of energy I had carrying him all the way to the top. Holy workout!
Taking a breather about the waterfall again we looked down on all we accomplished today then climbed the last hill to the campsite. Where we rightfully turned on the AC and chilled out in the RV a bit before making supper.
This was the night we finally got our USA map up on the RV. Figured the placement would be a great conversation starter piece. 7 States joined the map including Wisconsin. Rest of the night was letting our tired bodies relax and enjoy being in a spot for a few nights with a fire. Jason called it in early so I took advantage of my free time with researching and blogging.
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