After enjoying Hemlock Falls, I hiked up the canyon and headed upstream along the trail – and then back downhill, again – to see the 60-foot tall Cherokee Falls. Part of the Cloudland Canyon State Park, in Georgia, it’s a short hike & well worth the visit!
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Leaving Knoxville, Tennessee at 5:00 a.m., it was a 2 hour drive and I was the first person to arrive at the trail. By the time I returned to my vehicle, however, the parking lot was full.
If you arrive early, come prepared with the correct fee: an envelope with 16-quarters + a $1 bill isn’t easy to pass through the slot in the fee-deposit box. D’oh!
During my hike, I met several interesting people – a Pastor and his wife from Knoxville, a couple traveling on vacation from Ohio, and an individual from Marietta, Georgia, who was filming the canyon using a drone.
Despite being only 1.1 miles out and back, visitors must traverse 600 steps into the canyon. I was pleased that the trails were in good condition, and the hike wasn’t too difficult. For those in need of a rest, however, several benches have been conveniently situated along the trail.
If you’d be interested in a print of any kind, visit my shop at Pixels.
This decorative yoga mat is lightweight (approx. 3 lbs.), printed in vibrant colors on the front (back print optional), measures 72″ length by 24″ width by 1/4″ thickness, and is ECO friendly (composed of cellular vinyl, free from harmful BPAs, phthalates, and latex). A second, patterned version yoga mat is also available –
Enjoy this winter view into the forest, as seen at the beginning of a 2.75 mile trail I recently hiked in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Visit my gallery at Pixels to discover fine quality prints available for purchase!
Located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee near Gatlinburg, the trail to Rainbow Falls (80 feet) ascends the northern slopes of Mount LeConte (6,593 feet). Despite being rated as a difficult hike, the 2.75 mile trail to the falls is heavily trafficked with a constant incline over sometimes rugged terrain. With many switchbacks, it has an elevation gain of 1,653 feet and is one of six separate routes up the mountain. During warm weather, hikers should consider arriving early to secure a parking space, as the lot fills quickly.
If hiking during winter months, come prepared with proper clothing – the falls are above the frost line and temperatures can be quite cold. Here’s a photograph from my hike in March, 2019:
Fortunately, the weather was wonderful during my recent visit, as evident in the following scenes…
Interested in a print for your home or office? If so, then visit my shop at Pixels to select from a variety of available print types, including: framed, canvas, art, metal, acrylic and wood. Other items, also.
Wow! I’ve hiked many areas in the state, but so far none can compare to the plethora of waterfalls as found along the Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls, located near Dayton, TN.
From the moment I stepped out my vehicle and on to the trail, the sound of running water was loud, present throughout my hike. Though alltrails.com lists the hike at 6.1 miles out and back, a placard at the trailhead cites the total distance as 5 miles. Whatever the case, I definitely added another mile or two exploring off trail – there were photography opportunities around every corner!
The road into the park is filled (no pun intended) with potholes – it’s somewhat of an obstacles course. Thus, drive slowly with caution around sharp turns near steep hills.
Richland Creek was full, with a wonderful blue-green coloration in deeper pools and dozens of small-to-medium size waterfalls visible from the trail. Other water sources – including Paine Creek – were flowing with waterfalls to enjoy while hiking. Also, huge boulders – some 30 feet tall – periodically peppered the waterside.
The trail, formerly a railroad bed of The Dayton Coal & Iron Company, Limited, was mostly hard-pack dirt and flat, though muddy in areas. Though the trail splits (a white blaze leads left along the creek, and, orange ribbons around trees mark a route into the forest, leading to the right), both trails soon reconnect before reaching a new, aluminum bridge. Thereafter, the trail becomes quite rocky, and signs are posted for Snow Falls (left) and the 80-foot Laurel Falls (right).
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With both Clingmans Dome (6664′) and Mount Guyot (6621′) located on the border between Tennessee & North Carolina, Mount LeConte is the tallest mountain entirely within the state of Tennessee, at an elevation of 6593′.
One of the most popular hikes within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it features five trails to the summit and has the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States. LeConte Lodge operates via a seasonal airlift of supplies by helicopter in March, and with alternating teams of pack llamas several days each week throughout the season.
My hike began at the Alum Cave Trailhead, located in Seiver County near Gatlinburg, approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center along Newfound Gap Road.
I left my home in Knoxville, TN by 6:00 a.m. and returned at 6:15 p.m.. It was 7:53 a.m. when I started on the Alum Cave Trail, and 4:35 p.m. when I finished. All told, I hiked 12 miles and ascended 2700′ along the way.
Passing through Arch Rock, then beyond Inspiration Point, I reached Alum Cave Bluffs and rested to enjoy a peanut butter & raisin sandwich. This spot offers impressive views – including the Eye of The Needle – and is a popular destination for most hikers.
The slopes became steeper, thereafter, periodically revealing splendid views:
And, where useful, steel cables were affixed to the mountain for hiker safety:
Once on top, I continued beyond the lodge, stopping to see High Top – a cairn rock pile marking the 6593′ peak:
Walking along the trail on an edge of the mountain, I could see my destination in the distance – Myrtle Point, the easternmost peak on Mount LeConte:
The expansive, panoramic views here were truly stunning, and very much worth the additional 3/4 mile hike! Flat rocks offered welcomed seating to enjoy an impressive mountain landscape – including Mount Kephart, Charlies Bunion and Clingmans Dome:
Next, I backtracked along the trail until I reached a junction leading to Cliff Top, another vantage point offering excellent views – including Chimney Tops:
On my way back, I stopped at the lodge to use the outhouse, and discovered a comfortable rocking hair on the porch of a gift-shop building. So comfortable, in fact, that it took me nearly 15 minutes to stand-up again and resume my hike down the mountain!
Along the trail, I pondered how nice it would be to have a zip-line for my descent…haha.
Over the course of the day I met the same people on several different occasions, as various trails crisscross between points of interest and hikers, once reaching the summit, are usually in no hurry to leave. Also, many folks have reservations to stay overnight.
The following video was filmed at Myrtle Point:
Though strenuous, I can highly recommend this hike! Make sure you’re well-rested, carry sufficient water, monitor weather reports, and consider using “trekking poles” for added stability.
Many of these photographs can be purchased on prints of all kinds, including: framed, canvas, art, metal, wood, acrylic and tapestries. Other items available, also. See more in my shops at Pixels and/or Fine Art America. Thanks!
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina near the border with Tennessee, Andrews Bald is a high elevation grassy meadow which can be reached by hiking 1.8 miles along the Forney Ridge Trail. Named for Andres Thompson, a cattle herder who used the area in the 1840’s, it has the distinction of being the highest bald in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The trailhead begins near the end of the parking area by the paved trail to Clingman’s Dome, a very popular tourist destination. By contrast, Andrews Bald is much less traveled, with a 1200-foot change in elevation.
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Walking through a hemlock and rhododendron forest, I’d rate the hike to Hen Wallow Falls as moderately difficult. This 90′ waterfall is situated in the Smoky Mountains along the Gabes Mountain Trail, taking between 3-4 hours on a 4.2 mile round trip.
Because conditions on the trail are often rocky – or, covered extensively with tree roots – proper footwear is very important! More than the knees or calves, it’s always my feet which are most sore the next day, having hiked over such uneven surfaces:
Several signs are posted along the trail to help hikers find Hen Wallow Falls –
Footbridges allow hikers to keep dry while crossing over several small streams –
Here’s some enjoyable landscape scenery you’ll encounter along the trail –
Finally, Hen Wallow Falls
You may not live near the Smoky Mountains, but you can nevertheless enjoy nature from your home or office with a print of Hen Wallow Falls. Please visit my gallery at Pixels to review several pleasant photographs from my hike.
Strike your sun salutation in style. This yoga mat is lightweight (3.6 lbs.), yet durable. Just toss it over your shoulder with the handy carrying strap and you’re on your way. It measures 24″ wide by 70″ long by 1/4″ thick and includes 1.5″ woven polyester carrying strap. Latex-free and free of heavy metals.
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It was 1996 and I was 32 years old living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My gym was American Fitness and I was working out 5 days per week (3-on-1-off, 2-on-1-off).
One day, I noticed a flyer posted on the bulletin board, advertising for a strong man contest to be held in 2 weeks – who could bench press their own weight the most times? This was my favorite exercise, so I decided to enter the competition.
The contest would be judged, and lifters had to adhere to the following rules:
no bouncing weight off of ones chest
no arched back – ones back must remain flat, in contact with bench
to count, each repetition must be full and cleared as “good” by judge
contestants would compete based on a weight class bracket
The event was to be held at an old, industrial building near the railroad tracks on the east side of town, used at that time for a bar known as The Warehouse. Based on my weight, I was in the 175-200 lbs. weight class bracket.
When it was time, I arrived to see that many others were also interested in competing, and a local news station had their camera set up to record the event. The first order of business entailed stepping on a scale to be weighed by an official. Each individual did so in private without clothing, and I weighed 190.5 lbs.
It was at that point that I learned another contest rule – that is, that weights would be rounded up in 5-lb. increments. Thus, I’d be lifting 195 lbs. instead of my actual weight. It was suggested that I run outside around the building a few times – hoping to lose 1/2 pound – and that a second weighing would be made available. I thought about it but wanted to conserve my energy, so I declined.
I waited for my turn back in the main room, stretching my muscles and warming-up on one of several bench presses made available.
When I was finally called, I walked up onto the stage, listened to a brief review of the rules by an official, and then got into position on the bench. Next, as with each competitor, a judge (a.k.a., the spotter) assisted in safely removing the weight from the rack, thereafter releasing contact for me to begin lifting.
I bench pressed 195 lbs. for 29 clean repetitions, good enough for second place in my weight class bracket. First place went to a 178 lb. competitor (from my gym!) who pressed 180 lbs. for 31 clean repetitions.
All told, I bench pressed 5655 lbs. during that series of lifts, which (in consolation only) was a total of 75 lbs. more then the winner. My 29 presses were also the 2nd most of any competitor across all weight class brackets at the event.
Available in four different sizes (shown here, small), these fun removable, individually die-cut vinyl stickers can be used over and over again. Ideal for smooth flat surfaces like laptops, journals, windows, etc.. Each has a 1/8″ white border. Enjoy!
Measuring 72″ long by 24″ wide and 1/4″ thick, this colorful yoga mat weighs only 3 pounds and is very comfortable. It contains a mesh center membrane for added stability and is ECO friendly (composed of cellular vinyl, free from harmful BPAs, phthalates, and latex). Wipe clean with a damp cloth after every use. Enjoy!
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