Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bridal Veil Falls - Part 1

Although we got a late start this morning, on a crisp and cool and very sunny Sunday morning LC, Jamie and I decided that we wanted to walk a section of the Perimeter Trail up on the mountain adjacent to the University of the South campus.
After briefly looking at a map on line before leaving the house, we decided that we would look for a parking area close to a waterfall named Bridal Veil Falls.
We printed off a map only to realize as we drove through the base on the way to I-24 that we had left it on the kitchen table.
Not wanting to turn around and go back for it (and knowing that the hike would not be a long one) we decided instead to "wing it".
We knew where the cross was located:
And we knew where the falls were in relation to the cross, so explored some back roads close to the cross that we had not been on before, looking for a trail access to that section of the Perimeter Trail.
Without too much wandering we did indeed find a trail head and as my Mountain Boy parked the truck I looked out over a beautiful view of the valley far below.
I was happy that we had found an entrance to the trail, and pleased that both my Mountain Boy and my sweet pup were going to walk with me.
Jamie had been whining non-stop since we left the house and after a stop along the way realized that she was simply so excited that her 49 pound body could not contain it all.
She loves to walk, loves to walk and explore trails, and she has not done a lot of that since we moved back into our house, and I do not know how she knows the difference between a truck ride to the store and a truck ride to the trails but she does.
As we walked closer to the overlook I read the words that had been carved into a huge boulder at the trail head and learned that this place was called Morgans Steep................
If you click on the picture below it will enlarge (and also start a slide show of all pictures in this blog entry).
This plaque was erected by family members of a lady by the name of Martha Pugh.
Her family also erected this beautiful stone wall at the overlook in her memory..............
The trail head was located off a narrow road in a very rustic residential area, and with no obvious parking lot LC parked the truck in a small pull off up the hill.
There were no signs anywhere identifying the pull off either as the trail parking area or as private property so we hoped that the truck would be alright in our absence............
My guy and my dog looking out over endless pale green valley, multiple small towns, and endless deep blue sky............
Although we knew that Bridal Veil Falls would be a mile or so to the right we could hear rushing water to our left and made the instant decision to check it out.
We were not there for long hikes but rather simply to explore an as-yet unexplored area.
After Jamie's initial double take at the very steep set of stone steps we all eagerly headed down into the gorge to our left to see what we could find...............
It very quickly became obvious that the running theme to this hike was going to be rock.
It was everywhere around us and continued to be everywhere around us throughout our entire trip.
Used for stone benches and walls and markers at the trail head.
Used for steps down into the gorge.
Rock bluffs and cliffs and overhangs and rocky trails and caves buried deep into rock walls...............
And rock alters.............
We traveled only a short way on a very steep, root filled and rock filled and leaf filled trail.
And soon we found the source of the noise we had heard from the overlook............
We stayed at this lovely waterfall for only a short while before heading back the way we had come, climbing back up the steep set of stone stairs and heading onto the Perimeter Trail.............
We traveled only about 1/2 mile on easy to walk trail before dropping sharply down to a stream.
With all of the rain we have had over the past couple of weeks and even a brief snow that quickly evaporated in the warmer temperatures that followed, the small falls and fast flowing stream were noisy and beautiful...........
The sign on the opposite side of the bridge told us that the falls were .7 miles away.
After crossing the bridge we all turned left, began to walk on a secondary trail, and hit what turned out to be a combination of some flat leaf filled trail, some climbing over and under downed trees and a whole lot of very rocky and steep downhill trail.
The downhills were very challenging and required lots of leg strength and lots of balance checks.
Fun but sometimes tough going................
I snapped this picture solely for the sky.
We were hiking in dense forest and all of a sudden I looked up at the sky that was visible through the abundance of trees and saw the most brilliant color of blue.
It was striking against the dominant greys of the rocks and browns of the bare trees.
Tennessee weather changes frequently (as the expression goes "if you don't like the weather just wait for 10 minutes and it will change) but enjoys a lot of sunshine throughout the year.
But there is something about the deep blue of Fall and Winter that simply speaks to me.
I wish I could find some kind of wonderful descriptives to explain the depth of color but the words are not there...........
My dog, who annoyingly whined the entire trip up to the mountain, was happily and joyfully silent during our hike.
Although she stops often to mark and sniff and explore in that way that dogs have in new territory, she never tries to veer off trail.
She always has to walk point, hurrying to catch up and run to the front of the line if we dare to get ahead of her.............
As we continued to drop further down into gorge on the steep and rocky and very uneven trail (all the while knowing that we would have to climb back up that same steep and rocky and uneven trail to make our way back) we first could hear and then finally see Bridal Veil Falls..............
Frankly it was a little disappointing and my first thought was that Short Springs and Rutledge Falls close to the house were both bigger and prettier.
No matter.
I was glad that we had made it to the falls.
I had anticipated that there would be a pool of water that Jamie could drink from when we arrived but after seeing the falls was glad that I had brought a bottle of water and bowl for her because the falls actually fell directly down into a large and deep pit which quickly took the flowing water down underneath the ground and through water-eroded rock...............
Ever wonder where you'd end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?.....................Robert Brault

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