Monday, July 25, 2011

In search of waterfalls...

Friday dawned cooler, a perfect day to hike the Deep Creek section of the Smokies.   This area is known as a great area to hike,picnic, explore the river and tube. But seeing as it was 68 degrees when we arrived, tubing was not in the plans. Not to mention that mountain water is ALWAYS cold.

We headed into the park through some small mountain towns.  We're talking real towns, where the people had side yards full of firewood for the winter and lush mountain veggie gardens.   We kept seeing people with giant tubes strapped to the tops of their cars, some Suburbans with 5 or 6!  We are talking every other car.  And then, we hit it.  Right before the entrance to the National Park, both sides of the road were lined with tube rental places.  We're talking the Wings (beach store) of the mountains.   It made the escape into nature all the more welcome.

The Deep Creek area had an extensive campground, right on the river.  There were picnickers everywhere, serious ones with charcoal and major coolers.  You could tell they were there for the day.  Why??  They were tubing!  Yes, the nutty people were tubing in chilly, chilly weather and water.

We, however, were in search of the 3 waterfalls in area.  Not an overly difficult hike for little legs, the majority of it was a horse trail, with loops off it to the falls.  Geared up with Camelbaks and snacks we set off...

Most of the hike was along a stream like this one.

The Juney Whank Falls, the first ones.  The bridge went right through the middle of it.

Taking a little break on the bench.

Brantley gave me a hard time about taking pictures of the plants, but  this was too pretty. Anyone know what it is?

How about this mushroom?  They were everywhere and bright red.

A little helping hand from Daddy, this was the final stretch up to the top. 

And a break...

The second falls, a bit more impressive.  Thank goodness for technology,  though. We couldn't find a ranger station with trail maps, so we used my iPhone to download the maps, and used the compass a bit too!

Serious faces, I have no idea why.

At least we got one family photo from vacation, a nice family from Florida took it.  This little cove where the waterfall came down was absolutely swarming with blue butterflies, and a few monarchs.

The crazy people going down the river

The final falls, beautiful, but the only way too it was across Deep Creek.

Once we got down lower we had a great time watching the tubers, especially when they would squeal when the water hit them. Or the guy that totally fell out of his tube and had to chase it down the river.  It was a great day hiking and we always enjoy our time as a family in nature. 

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