So Many Waterfalls

Sunday March 29, 2020

I love to see waterfalls and today was a day full of them. I saw 6 waterfalls today.Cherokee Falls at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

I was camped here for a few nights and had already been to the falls once. I was heading out today, but it was such a beautiful cool morning I decided to go see them again. It is a short hike less than a mile to the falls and about 200 steps down to see them. It does take you breath away, but it is worth it. The falls are amazing! From here you can also hike down 400 more steps to see Hemlock falls, but I recommend going to the Sitton’s trailhead parking area and hiking the couple of miles up along the river to see it. It has to be the one of the best day hikes I have ever done.My main goal today was to see Desoto Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama. The Falls are awesome, but it was a small picnic area where you had to pay a $4. parking fee and there was no trail walk to the falls. They were right there. I was a little disapointed that I was missing out on a hike, but the falls are definitly rewarding even if you didn’t have to hike to them. Since the falls were not actually in Desoto State Park I decided to head over the the park and check out some of the hiking trails so I could be out in nature a little more today.

I was able to get one of the last parking spots at the trailhead and saw on the trail map that there were 3 falls within a short distance of each other. Bingo! All of the falls were small, but I enjoyed the hiking and seeing them.

Laural Falls

Lost Falls

Indian Falls

While I was heading to my next camping spot for the evening I passed Little River Canyon. I wanted to stop here, but saw online that they were closed because of the carona virus so I did not plan to stop here. As I drove by the place was packed with cars so I decided to stop and was rewarded with a view of the falls. Even though I’ve been hiking most of the day I didn’t mind the short walk from the parking area to the falls.

Attention All Day Hikers…

Thursday March 26, 2020This is a hike you don’t want to miss. It has to be the best day hike I have ever done. It is Sitton’s Trail located in Northwest Georgia. You’ll want to make sure to start from the trailhead parking area NOT from Cloudland Canyon State Park. If you do it from the main trailhead in the park it involves 600 stairs and you will miss the hike along the river. Now you can do it from the park and do the 600 stairs plus 2 miles along the river, but I avoided the stairs since I had to carry Berkley. The stairs are and open metal grate and he does not like them. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! There is a day parking fee ($5) for the parking area, but trust me it is worth every penny. You’ll want to get there early because there is not that much parking and it was full when I returned from my hike.

The trail follows a river (forgive me for not knowing the name of it) all the way up to Hemlock Falls. The trail guide said it was 2 miles to the falls, but I have to say I was there in no time. I was so entertained the whole way.

What to expect…The trail is rated as strenous, but I felt like the ascents were short lived and there is a chance to catch your breath before it continued up again. The trail was mostly free of roots and rocks so easy walking.There was one water crossing to rock hop across, but I managed to get one foot wet on the way there. I was carring Berkley and did not have the best balance. On the way back across I made it with dry shoes. Yay! There is also a bride crossing far above a waterfall on the way there that had me saying “oh shit” and I would not look down. It has a see though metal grate to walk on. It is definitly better that a swing bridge with a metal grate. I had to do one of those on the Northville-Placid trail in New York. I don’t seek them out that is for sure. Now for the waterfall itself, just check it out it speaks for itself.

New core value

Thursday October 31, 2019

I’ve added a new core value to my top 5 core values…ADVENTURE! I just can’t love my life without it. Most financial advisors will ask you for your top five core values to find out what truly motivates you and to determine what you care most deeply about that way they can help you plan for the future and use money as a tool to help you reach your goals that align with your values. These are my top 5 vlaues:

1. HEALTH–If you have ever been sick or have had a chronic illness you know how important this is. To me this is the foundation of life, because if you’re not healthy and feel good, how do you truely enjoy life?

2. ADVENTURE–This what makes me tick! It gets my blood pumping, heart racing and giddy with excitement. It makes me set goals and smile big when I achieve them.

3. FREEDOM–I long for the day when I take a leap of faith and cut the strings that hold me to a job that I stay at for years on end. I am looking forward to the time when I can just work a few months out of the year and be free to do what I like the rest of the time. But fear is a bitch and has keep me rooted to this spot. What is fear? When I take a look at it, it is nothing more than the lies I tell myself because of my insecurities. Maybe if I just ask myself “what do I have to lose?” I will realise it’s not nearly as much as I have to gain, if it’s anything at all.

4. HAPPINESS–The joy when everything comes together, to feel greatful and blessed for all the wealth in my life. Doing the things that inspire me and make me feel energized.

5. SECURITY–The rainy day funds to back me up when thing don’t go according to plan or for challanges along the way, are taking longer to build up than I would like. But every day is one day closer to my goal. Even thought I don’t know what that goal (money needed for 6 mos of travel) currently is. Oh and the 401K for the end of life is far from ideal and definetly won’t support me at this time in my life, but I continue to add to it for the future. I wish I had the knowledge to start much earlier than I did. I believe this is something that should be taught at a very early age in schools amoung other things, but isn’t.

My Mom has rented a house in Franklin, NC for a few months this fall. I have planned a couple of trips up to do some hiking. The first trip, this weekend is just for a long weekend. The weather is a complete mix of freezing cold, rainy, foggy with some beautiful sunny days. I wanted to make a couple of stops on the way up to see some waterfalls, but there was all day rain forcasted. When we were close to the first turn off for one of the waterfalls I wanted to hike to I looked at Jim and asked him if he would be willing to do a hike in the rain. It was only a very light misty rain. He agreed so off we went.

There is just something about rain that adds to the adventure. I wanted to stop on my way up to see Mom at a couple of waterfalls. The weather forecast was calling for over an inch of rain today so I didn’t think we would he able to do any of the stops I had planned. But as we were traveling (not just me and Berkley…Jim is with me this time) the rain was just a light mist.

Shortly after turning off the main highway we were on a dirt road. I think I have been down more dirt roads in the van (by the way, her name is Vandy) than I ever was in my car. Most waterfall hikes seem to involve a dirt road.

The hike to Minnehaha Falls was short (.2 mi) and was we were starting our hike there was another couple and their two dogs sightly behind us. We aren’t the only crazies out here.

It was a short but pretty hike up. Lots of beautifully colored leaves covering the trail and the rain ramained misty UNTIL we reached the top and it started to rain harder. We took a few pictures and headed back to Vandy.

The falls were beautiful and had plenty of water flowing since they have had so much rain lately. I was really glad we didn’t skip this one.

I’m not sure Jim enjoyed it. I think he just endures it for me.

The tempertures dropped fast this evening and we soon had a fire in the fireplace. The low tempertures for the whole weekend are 27-30 degrees. Much colder then Jim and I would like to see, but it is nice to have an evening and early morning fire in the fireplace.

Friday November 1, 2019

Today we were off to Gorges State Park to see Bear Wallow Falls and Rainbow Falls.

Saturday November 2, 2019

This morning was supper foggy and plenty cold. We went into downtown to walk the shops and stop at a local brewery called the Lazy Hiker. We also walked the local river walk for a couple of miles so I could get some type of exercise fix for the day.

Another Adventure

Sunday October 6, 2019

I’m off again. This time it is at FD Rossevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, GA. Which is about 6.5 hours from the house. It is unfortunate but I have to travel a good ways to get to any mountainous areas to hike. I chose this park because of the amout of hiking trails that I can get to from the campground itself. This way I will be able to leave the van parked for the whole weekend.

This has to be one of the most stunning campground registration offices I have ever seen. The picture below, take on one of my early morning walks, is the view from behind this building. Most mornings when I start out it is still dark so I just stick to the paved roads, which had some really good elevation. It equated to sore shins after just the first day! It may also have something to do with the number of birthday’s I’ve had or just the fact that I live in Florida at an elevation of 23 feet. I’ll blame it on both.

This lake is in the center of the campgound. Campers on one side and cabins on the other.

Generally my days started with early morning walks while Berkley was still lounging in bed. I would get in about 3-5 miles of walking in before going back to pick him up. Which is our normal routine at home. Then we would head out for another 1-4 miles depending on how much I was willing to carry him for after he decides he has enough.

The trails around the campground were well maintained and easy to walk on. I saw some interesting things on these trails. Such as a hinged door build into the hollow of a tree or a bird house way out in the middle of the woods.

Some of the campground hosts had their halloween decorations out.

Berkley spent his afternoons alternating between laying in the shade and sun.


Saturday September 7, 2019

Today is another waterfall bust…I am heading out today to begin my trip home. I planned to stop at two places on the way south today. The first is a fee to enter area. I get there 45 minutes before they open at 10am and the gate is locked. The parking lot for the other falls that I want to hike to is just half a mile down the road. So I decide to go there. The parking lot described in the guide book turns out to be a small pullout on a very narrow road. The pullout may fit two cars, but it is at a terrible slope and I chicken out and don’t want to park there. It probably would have been fine, but I was nervous about it. So I decide to just go and continue heading south. I am very close to the South Carolina state border. I will stop at the welcome center and see if there is anything else to stop at on my way home.

After stoping at the welcome center there is nothing really to stop at on my way home. I’m bummed. I do collect info on other areas of South Carolina to visit in the future. I stop at the Georgia welcome center and do the same. Once leaving there I pick the closest RV resort to spend the night at. It is only 8 miles away. It is after 4 pm. I am ready to be in relax mode. I asked for a shaded site since the temperature gauge on the van is showing 99 degrees. The site they give me is in the full sun. I pick out a shaded spot and park there for the night. I started with some not so legal parking why not finish up the trip with some more. The office was closed for the day when pulled in so I can’t change it. I did notice when I picked up my info taped to the office door, that it was the only one. So hopefully the site I took is not someone elses.

I should arrive home tomorrow, late morning. Then it is back to work on Monday. Next trip is early October. I will start planning it soon. I have an idea where I will be going.

To be continued…

Blessed Day

Friday September 6, 2019

High Falls

Where do I begin? Today was amazing. Beautiful falls. Greating hiking trails. Amazing weather. I definitly felt blessed today.

My first stop was Key Falls. It is off a tributary of the French Broad River. The water flow was pretty low and hard to see in my pictures. You may have to zoom in to see better.

Key Falls

Then off to the Dupont State Forest to see Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls. They are all well worth the trip. They all can be hiked to from the same parking area. I manged to park perfectly today. The key is no lines in the parking area! All three falls are on the Little River. I did see a couple of people fly fishing and I saw two yesterday on my way down the gravel road from Courthouse Falls. Fly fishing seems to be big in this area. There is a fly fishing outfitter just down the road from the campground I am staying at.

One thing’s for sure about Triple Falls. When you see it you won’t question how it got its name! This waterfall was featured the The Hunger Games. This is where Katniss finds Peeta camouflaged against the rock.

Triple Falls

One my way to High Falls I saw some furry butts. There was a large group of lamas. I didn’t stop other than to take a few pictures. There were so many people there I just passed by.

When I got to High Falls I saw some naked butts! A couple of skinny dippers with no shame at all.

High Falls was massive with a huge amout of water flow.

By the time I got to Hooker Falls it was afternoon and the Falls were crowded. There were people picnicing, swimming and sunbathing.

Hooker Falls

This was another huge waterfall with a massave amount of water flow. You may recognize the falls from The Last of the Mohicans.

Hooker falls

Berkley has got this figure out. After hiking for a while he just calls it quiting time. Then I carry him the rest of the way in my pack.

This is how we roll.

Once back at camp Berkley finds a sunny spot to rest in.

I enjoy a glass of wine while working on some continuing education credits to maintain my dental hygienist liscense.

In the late afternoon the chickens come back an take up residence in my camp.

This is the view from the bridge that I have to drive over to get to the campground. There are campsites right on this river. The French Broad River.

Courthouse Falls

Thursday September 5, 2019

Courthouse Falls

Aonther gravel road! It is a very slow 3 miles to Courthouse Falls. It was worth it. The falls are beautiful and I am the only one here.

Parked on the side of the gravel road.

I stop again after making it back to the paved road and dig out the gravel from my tires.

Mills Shoals (French Broad Falls)

There are two falls here with an old mill right next to one of the falls. The old mill is now Living Waters Ministry. They allow the public to park on their property to view the falls.

Bird Rock Falls

A short walk down trail you come to Bird Rock Falls. The walk is beautiful along the French Broad River. I wished I brought lunch along with me. There are plenty of rocks to sit on and it is a gorgeous day. There are plenty of places to hop in the water if you need to cool off, but the water is much to cold for this Florida girl.

There is no cell service in the area. I drive a little out of the way toward town to call Jim to let him know I am doing great. Then I head back to camp to plan out the next days adventures. Hopefully without gravel roads.

I do a little reading before bed.

Waterfall bust…

Wednesday September 4, 2019

I wake up with cold feet. Berkley stays in his cocoon until the sun comes up.

It is cool and breezy on our morning walk. We pass a camper guest headed to the bathrooms with a coffee in one hand and a paperback in the other…

Today was a waterfall bust…I planned to go to Eastatoe Falls. It is on private property. And it was closed today. This is what is pictured in my guide book. It looked amazing, but will have to save it for another day.

I have moved campgrounds. I am now further south in lower elevation and it doesn’t feel as cool here.

I had to cross this bridge to get to the campground. Mild panic attach!

I am camped just a short ways from this river and can hear it from the van. It looks like a lazy river that you can float down in an inner tube.

Campsite for the next three nights.

Kara, this one is for you. Had a few of these girls/guys visit me last night. Didn’t notice them until one was standing on my welcome mat! When I look out there are about six of them in my campsite.

Skinny Dip Falls

Tuesday September 3, 2019

Skinny Dip Falls

Well it’s another day of not being up and out early. It is so beautiful here. I’m in relax mode, and it’s hard not to be. We get our normal late start again.

Shortly after getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway, my phone starts to go crazy with message alerts. I have service! Whoowho! I find an overlook and pull over. My first order of business is to call my mother in law. It is her birthday today. Happy Birthday Diane! My in laws live on a boat on the east coast of Florida with Hurrican Dorian barreling toward them. I get the latest updates of the storm from her. It is now down to a class 3 from a class 5. Hopefully will stay off the coast of Florida and not make a direct hit. I pray the storm stays out to sea. I also call Jim and my Mom. Now another 45 minutes has passed, but I’m not stressing it. The falls I want to go to today are only 10 miles from the campground.

Skinny Dip Falls is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 417 directly across from an overlook. I believe it is a side trail off the Moutain to Sea trail that runs paraellel to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is definitly a MUST SEE! I could have sat here all day long. There are no signs of this being touristy. It seems like a hidden secret. You can also see Looking Glass Rock from the overlook here, but with the sun glare you could not see it well in my photos, so I didn’t include them.

Before I know it Berkley was more than half way down these stairs. I almost had a heart attack watching him. I would always carry him down stuff like this, but he was blazing trail this morning.

I easily find a place to park. There are only two other cars at the overlook. The walk to the falls is easy for an experienced hiker, but for the non-experienced it has some roots, stairs and elevation change. It is shaded and a very pleasant temperature this moring. The first sight of the falls is breath taking. The falls, the color of the pools at the bottom, the surrounding forest makes you never want to leave. It is so beautiful .

Trail to skinny Dip Falls

Graveyard Fields is the next stop, located at 418.8 on the BRP. I pull into a very full parking lot. I manage to find a parking spot, but can’t seem to get this beast into the spot stright. I really need to do some parking lot parking practice. This looks touristy. There are a lot of people here.

Lower Falls

There are two falls here, Upper and Lower Falls. I hike to Lower Falls first. It is beautiful and there are only a few people there. The hike to Upper Falls is almost 2 miles away. Berkley decides part way there that he is done. I pick him up and carry him the rest of the way to Upper Falls. We take a snack break once we reach the falls. Upper Falls is kinds of a let down after all the other falls I have seen lately. The hike getting there is the highlight. There is some climbing involved, but it is easy. The highlight is how shaded and cool it feels, like someone turned on the AC. For the return trip I put Berkley in my backpack that I wear on my front side. He likes to be in the front. I carry him the whole way back.

Upper Falls

We head back to the overlook where I had service this morning. I want to upload my blog, but don’t have enough service for that. While I am trying to schedule campgrounds for the next few nights, Berkley has found a sunny spot in the passanger set and is fast asleep.

We return to camp. I shower and relax for the rest of the evening. I fall sleep before 8pm. Berkley isn’t the only one that is tired.

Another one of my not so good parking jobs. I was lucky enough to find two parking spots side by side at the end of the lot. I passed all the other single spots. I managed to get in mostly in the spot. My right back tire is on the line.

My campsite for the next two nights.

Looking Glass Falls

Monday September 2, 2019

Sliding Rock Falls.

I wasn’t up as early as I wanted to be but it is vacation after all. I’m up at 6:45am and it’s chilly. I head out to walk Berkley and we find a trail along the gravel road we came in on. We head down it for about half a mile before Berkley wants to turn around. It feels so good to be out in nature on a trail again. Berkley seems to be enjoying it to, or maybe it is just the cooler weather. He is moving at a fast clip.

I have my day all planned out there are a few waterfalls along the main road, 276 that I turned off of. I just have to get back there from my 3 miles down this rough gravel road. I know it is a holiday weekend so things will be busy and I am still trying to master driving this van. I’ve already hit a tree branch on this trip in a Walmart parking lot. I wanted to park in the shade and there was a tree branch that was hanging to low for the height of the van. No damage done, but a reminder that you can’t park this big boy anywhere. I hope getting to these waterfall parking areas early they won’t be to full and it will be easy for me to get the van in and out of them.

Sliding Rock Falls.

My first stop is sliding rock falls. Apperently you can slide down the falls on a slick rock into a pool at the bottom. I have no cell service out here so I can’t google directions so going out early will allow me to take my time and go slow. I find it easily. There is a fee $3 per person to enter, but the gate is open and no one is at the gate house. I go in and find the falls. NO one is here and it is beautiful and quiet. I sure am glad I got here early since it looks like an amusment park. I bet this gets crazy. I can see where you can side down the falls with an area railed off to walk back up to do it all over again. I was lucky enough while here to find some signage to the other falls in the area with dirving directions to them.

Slick Rock Falls.

Looking Glass Falls is the next stop, but it is on the opposite side of the road and it is parallel parking only so I decide to continue on to slickrock falls and stop at looking glass falls on the way back. I would have never found slick rock falls without the driving directions listed at Sliding Rock Falls. Slickrock was off of 276 then down another gravel road. I though I had to hike to see the falls but it was very close to the road. There was a hiking trail, up to Looking Glass Rock so we proceded up. It was a nice uphill hike to get the heart going but Berkley seemed pretty winded and with his heart murmur I didn’t want to push him. We turned around before getting to Looking Glass Rock. I believe there is a lookout on the parkway where this can be viewed.

After exiting the gravel road and heading back to 276, I noticed that something sounded funny. I found a pullout and stopped to check things out. There was a lot of gravel stuck in my tires. I thought it best to remove it. I pried it out with the tip of a trekking pole (another use for trekking poles). Funny sound gone. Yea! I fixed something!

View along the Blie Ridge Parkway

Those of you following my blog may remember that I left my trekking poles in Oregon. I had to super glue one of them when it broke and was not longer collapsible and wouldn’t fit in my travel bag so I left them in a hiker box. Plus one of the tips broke off as well. They served me well for probally close to 3000 miles. So I have now claimed my husbands poles. He rarely uses them.

Looking Glass Falls

When I got back to Looking Glass Falls it was a ZOO! There were vicheles everwhere and even parked around the no parking signs! I will admit there were a few parallel parking spots left, but I didn’t want to try and squeese this big boy in those little spots. But within walking distance of the falls I found a pull in spot and grabbed it. The falls were beautiful, but way to may people for my liking.

The ZOO!

On the way back to Pisgah Campgrond, my home for the next two nights I stopped at Pink Beds Loop and picnic and hiking area. We walked for a short spell and headed back to the van. Berkley quickly laid down and was fast asleep. I proceded to make lasagna for my dinner tonight. I pretty much need to have the van running when I use any electrical appliance that draws a good bit of power. So I put my lasagna in the instant pot and would let it cook while I drove to the campgound. This way I wouldn’t have to run it just sitting idle. I put the instant pot in the kitchen sink so it wouldn’t go flying anywhere and headed to camp.