From the waterfall book John gave me, I picked out the destination of Yellow Creek Falls, about 100 miles away. The drive through the mountains was very pleasant. The walk to get there was labeled a #5, a moderate hike with some uphill sections, roots, stones, and a ridge to climb. Red flags did not go up, but they should have. Two couples coming back to their cars warned of a tree down over the narrow path and muddy sections. I could never have made it without grandson David ahead and John behind to steady me. I’m glad to say, my replaced knees passed this endurance test with flying colors. David was sure-footed and nimble, leaping over the trail like a goat. While I went through easier sections, he scouted ahead. We went off the path several times to look at the stream, making the climb worthwhile.
The downed tree was quite an obstacle. One of the couples showed us their battle scars, so we knew it would not be easy. David practically did the Limbo under it. I sat on it and swung my legs over, scraping myself just once on a protruding branch. I was so relieved to make it that I didn’t watch John going over.
When we came back down the trail, a big family group was approaching. Two of the fellows figured out how to brace the fallen tree with sturdy branches and used the leverage to break it free. That was a service to mankind, or at least to cascade-seekers.
The young people had on swimsuits, making David wish he had brought his suit. He wondered where they would swim. I found the answer on line after we got home. The swimming hole was at the base of the falls.
The hike was supposed to be only a third of a mile (536 meters), but we felt it was quite a bit more. John added two other falls for us to find in that area, so we were late on his schedule. Thank heavens we could drive to both near the Tennessee border! We saw Bald River Falls from a bridge and parked a few feet beyond it. Two sets of people were swimming there. If David had been a dog, he would have wagged his tail and whined.
A short distance away we found Baby Falls, a site with a paved parking lot, picnic tables, and public outhouses. Define a public outhouse, you ask? It’s a structure with a toilet, no running water, but plenty of toilet paper supplied by the national park. I called it a luxury, considering the remote location where GPS and cell phones don’t work.
A group of teens were in the water below the falls. David had already stopped to look when I heard something hit the water. I turned in time to see a young fellow come up from his dive.
All four took turns diving from the boulders above. One even did a back flip! The camera caught the action of one, though I suspect you will see him slide across the screen instead of down.
[Does anyone know if it is possible to rotate a video?]
I was prepared to stay there as long as necessary to extract a promise from David that he wouldn’t dive when he returns with his swimsuit. He immediately said, “I wouldn’t take a chance like that, Gran.”
David also agreed that he would not wade across the top of the falls as two of the teens did. Every year I read in the newspaper about people who fall to their deaths after slipping on rocks above waterfalls.
John remarked that we had been away from the house for over twelve hours in our waterfalls quest. He said he could have driven to New York in that time. He admitted that he felt as if he had been driving the whole time and was weary. I’m glad he has already said that we will spend a night on the road if I go with him to Long Island in June.