Visiting the waterfalls in NC and TN have taught me a valuable lesson: I need to add water shoes to my backpacking list. This is the 3rd time I’ve ended up killing my feet either by taking my shoes off and beating them up on the rocks, or leaving the shoes on and walking around in soggy shoes for a few days. I also can’t wait for Caleb to be able to get bigger so I can quit lugging around the tent and go back to my “hooch” aka hammock and rain fly. In the one picture, we camped over on the left side, across the river. The other picture is a good picture of Mark smiling and Caleb, well, being Caleb. 🙂 [singlepic id=80 w=320 h=240 float=right] [singlepic id=81 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Laurel Falls is a 55 ft waterfall located on the AT (Appalachian Trail) about 5 miles outside of Hampton, TN. Caleb and I met Mark at the Kincora hostel. We closed up the vehicles, loaded up the packs, and away we went. The hike to the falls was approximately 2.5 miles in. We encountered several foot bridges across the small streams that crisscrossed the trail, and of course the big foot bridge that crossed over the Laurel Fork river.[singlepic id=77 w=320 h=240 float=right] The trail wound up the ridge on the other side of the bridge and crossed the ridge through what looked like an old rail road bed. We climbed down to the valley floor where the river was flowing and finally got to see the falls.[singlepic id=74 w=320 h=240 float=right] With not much space to set a tent, we crossed the river and set up on the other side.[singlepic id=78 w=320 h=240 float=right] Noodles, spaghetti O’s, and coffee were on the menu. Getting a fire started was difficult due to all the rain, but Mark finally got it blazing around midnight. Caleb and I turned in around 2130 hrs. We woke up Sunday morning around 0700 hrs and got the fire going again for some more coffee and then packed up to hike out. Crossing the river back to the other side was a task due to all the slippery rocks and ice cold water.[singlepic id=73 w=320 h=240 float=right] Caleb led the way back up the mountain to the ridge. He climbed very carefully for a 4 year old and enjoyed leading the way. [singlepic id=75 w=320 h=240 float=right]The scenery was very impressive with high cliff walls and blooming rhododendron. Mark spotted a hornet’s nest and Caleb offered up some great advice, “Dad, let’s just leave it alone.”
Even through all the “Caleb, stop.” and “Caleb, put the knife down.” and “Caleb, get out of the fire.” we had a good time. Caleb had a great time and is well on his way to becoming a great outdoorsman. [singlepic id=76 w=320 h=240 float=right] [singlepic id=71 w=320 h=240 float=left] [singlepic id=68 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Wow. I am too tired to really type anything. Andie and I went up Yankee Boy Basin and hiked the blue lakes trail. Although not technically a shelf road, Yankee Boy trail definitely provides some “pucker” factor. [singlepic id=64 w=320 h=240 float=right] [singlepic id=65 w=320 h=240 float=right] There was a TON of water coming down Angel creek from the snow melting up top. There is still plenty of snow at the top; you can see where people have been skiing recently and Andie and I had to traverse a snow field to get to the blue lakes. The views are breathtaking at 12,000 feet and the alpine vegetation was unique too. Being tired, I’m going to post a few pictures [singlepic id=62 w=320 h=240 float=right][singlepic id=63 w=320 h=240 float=left]below and you’ll have to check back when I get home to see the rest. The ones below are by far not the best pictures, just the ones I really like.[singlepic id=61 w=320 h=240 float=left]
Leaving Lake City, CO took us by lake San Cristobal, a beautiful lake. We then took state road 30 towards the American Basin and Cinnamon Pass trails, part of the “Alpine Loop”.[singlepic id=58 w=320 h=240 float=right]The road was well maintained at the start and offered incredible views of the creek down below and the mountains we were heading in to.[singlepic id=59 w=320 h=240 float=right] The starting altitude was 8,000 ft and the terrain varied from rocky cliffs to rolling meadows. The sky was a brilliant blue, but rain was in the forecast for the afternoon.[singlepic id=43 w=320 h=240 float=left] There are a ton of camping spots all along the road up to the trail head. Some of the land is private property, but the public areas are well marked and they even have pit toilet huts along the way. In the form of wildlife, we saw deer and marmot. We also saw several dams on the creek (obvious signs of beaver), but no beaver. Continue Reading
We left out of Lake City and headed towards Cinnamon pass. I got a great picture of the jeep and Andie. [singlepic id=43 w=640 h=480 float=right]I will post more pics later, but its safe to say this has been the most breathtaking and exciting part of the journey. From amazingly rugged country to nose bleed altitudes to major pucker factor driving, its been by far the best time in Colorado.