Saturday, July 19, 2014

Taking It Back To The Mountains

Keep close to Nature's heart...
and break clear away,
once in awhile,
and climb a mountain
or spend a week in the woods. 
Wash your spirit clean.
-John Muir

We decided to end our trip back in the mountains of Tennessee, heading into Central Tennessee and the Cumberland Mountains. 

I must admit as we neared our final destination, neither King Ralph or I wanted to admit our hesitation at leaving Charleston.  You see the area we were driving through seemed a rather depressed area and we wondered what was to lie ahead for us. But we held onto the fact that USA Today named Fall Creek Falls State Park one of the best state parks in the USA. 

As we drove through the park our silent fears were put to rest.  The park is quite beautiful and vast.  We set up camp, grilled,
relaxed and drank cocktails by the campfire (we've gotten very good at that activity).

After a good night's sleep we set out on a hike to see Canes Fall
 and Fall Creek Falls.  
We relaxed at the bottom of the gorge, enjoying the cool breeze, watching kids swimming and swapped picture taking moments with another family
I must admit that the suspension bridge that is part of the hike gave me a bit of a creepy feeling and left me with the sensation that I was wobbling in my walk once I hit solid ground again. 
The views, however, filled my soul with peace and tranquility. 

As we headed down the gorge trail to the bottom of the falls, park personnel was rushing down the least ten of them, from lifeguards to rangers to maintenance workers. Turns out an older woman broke her ankle and needed to carried via a gurney up the trail.  A job I believe must have sucked equal to the broken ankle.

Now we didn't wear our swimsuits down to the bottom of the gorge but most people did, to enjoy a dip in the fresh mountain pool of water.  Instead we just rest our feet upon the rocks. 
And ate a snack 

When we finished our three mile hike, still full of energy we decided to try our hand at the parks new ZipStream challenge.  We've never done anything like this before, so knowing what to expect was, well, the unexpected.  As someone with a fear of heights without safety boundaries, I felt at complete ease in my harness up in the trees.  And. I. Had. A. Blast! We had a blast! 

Returning to our camp site at 4pm, starved (because all we had was an breakfast bar while we sat relaxing in the gorge) we immediately began scarfing down chips and dip...and cocktails--mostly because we earned them.   
Wishing we could stay another day exploring the mountain--instead we toasted to a great trip and stoked one last fire. 

Then morning came. We made peace with vacation time ending, and we set out on the road--home.
Fall Creek Falls Report Card 

Check-In  C- it's kind of crazy how far past all the camping loops you have to drive past to get to the check-in post, not to mention the young girl working was the mist unwelcoming person ever. She lacked customer service skills to the max!   Here is where you can get fire wood for $3.50 (generous bundle) and ice. There were also soda machines. 

Site D131 - great full hook up site, large, flat, paved, picnic table and the fire ring sat to the back of the site more in the woods giving it a nice relaxing feeling.

Comfort Station - ICK!  There are a few things in the park that I felt needed to be brought up to par to claim its "one of the best state parks in the USA" and the D loop restrooms are one of them.  The toilets aren't easy to flush and the three showers are molded up the walls like none other.  I was thankful I had my own shower in my camper! 

Activities - great hiking, there is a pool $, tennis courts, basket ball courts (the nets  are worn and need replacing (another bring up to par item)), golf, biking, fishing, boat rental.... 

Overall - SOLID B+, with a little attention to a few areas in the park it could garner a grade "A".  I would not hesitate returning to this park in the future


Lin said...

Beautiful park! And the activities look like a ton of fun. I would like that.

I need to get a camper....

JODI said...

Lin - I think I hear Joe saying, a camper? Can't we focus on getting that damn car we ordered first. ;-)

Then get a camper!

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