Mr. knows how I love waterfalls and hiking creek beds (he hikes with a group on Wednesdays and he knew I would love this one) He said "This will be a hike with some beautiful views. You will begin walking alongside a river with a multitude of large boulders then the trail splits and we proceed to Laurel Falls.
|The trail to Laurel Falls follows Richland Creek upstream. It starts out flat and level as it follows an old road left over from the coal mining days. As you follow the creek bed you will see an old coal mining cave.|
|The mining cave entrance. If you like you can peak inside. (Personally, being spring and all, I'm pretty sure there are new babies in the wild....I was not looking to run face to face with mama bear so I didn't go much further than the entrance)|
We have had some rain but the creek was not impassable but the sites along the trail are so beautiful. Water flowing from the side of the mountain.
After about a mile, the trail climbs a bit and becomes much narrower. Normally you would take the bridge across Laurel Creek. Well not today, the bridge was impassable due to more than one fallen tree so we crossed the creek-bed stepping over a cleverly engineered bridge made from fallen trees. Great for the sure footed, but those who know me know I can fall down in the yard all by myself. LOL So here I go. I made it!
After crossing the bridge we engaged in an uphill climb with several switchbacks climbing to the base of Laurel Falls. There is one section of the trail that involves climbing through some boulders that will have a cave-like feel as you will have to hunch over. It is very short, but there is no way around the obstacle. So in I go, I was 3rd or 4th. (I just wanted the first few to flush out the snakes for me.)
Laurel Falls has an 80' drop, so is quite spectacular. I was unable to capture the full falls as you can see there are so many boulders to climb over.
Laurel Falls, not much water this time coming over the falls but such a beautiful place to sit and take a break.
Okay, it is time to continue to Bryan Overlook (also known as Raven Point). They tell me it is difficult but if I want to stay here I can. It is really rocky on the way up but so worth the trip to the overlook if I think I can do it. Okay, whats another mile or two, it is so beautiful today. (Did I mention the natural area also has scenic steep gorges?) I put on my pack and take my first step; my left foot is wedged between two rocks. I step with my right foot to pull my left foot out of the rock and headfirst I go. Mr. is yelling SIT, SIT, SIT DOWN!! Well that is hard to do when your already going forward but I squat. (close enough to a "sit" I guess when your legs are crossed in Indian style and your headfirst into a gorge . I hear gasps and I'm thinking what the heck., no broken bones and I just missed seeing where all the water goes from Laurel Falls. Good save!!
Getting up to Bryan Overlook can be tough, but it is not too hard, so if you have the strength, do it!
No, Mr. didn't know I took this one until we got home. I wont fall!! (famous last words)
It was a chore to get him to stand here for the picture, he will not go out on any overlook. Such a beautiful day. I love these Tennessee Mountains and spending time with Mr. (Poor guy, he can hike 8 miles without a single health problem and I'll be the one to give him a heart attack on the trail) Okay, time to go back down the mountain. I'll let him go ahead of me, just in case I fall down again.... LOL