Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 - The Walls of Jericho

This hike has been on our bucket list for a few years now and today, we finally made the trek. The Walls of Jericho is a canyon located in south central Tennessee, just barely over the state line from Alabama. The hike from Alabama starts right off with a 1000 foot decent that winds down into the valley of Hurricane Creek. As the trail continues the walls of the canyon become rapidly steeper until they envelope the creek bed and surround the trail at the base of a waterfall. Directly above the waterfall is (in wet weather) another series of falls and small cave that houses a spring that feeds the lower falls. Even further up the from that is a massive pit in the earth that swallows all the water from the creek upstream. It's a unique formation of water and rock and home to hundreds of species of fish and many other animals.

When you get to the end of this entry, click on the Google Maps link to the GPS tracklog, then change the view to the 3D "Earth" mode and spin the map around to really appreciate the climb we made down into and back out of the canyon.

All five of us (+2) made the trip, about 7.2 miles total- although I had to change out batteries in the GPS on the way out (see where the tracklog runs in a straight line). The hardest part was the 1000 foot elevation change. Once you level out near Clark Cemetery, it's a pretty easy stroll through the woods.

Our three and the bonus kid

In the woods with two women. AND I SURVIVED.

Clark Cemetery

The kids sliding down the rocks at the falls

One of many geodes partially reveled in the limestone

The kids took some time to swim in the pool below the falls. I also got in the water, myself but not for very long. It made the pools from our hike yesterday seem downright tepid. I don't know how the kids were able to stand water that cold for that long.

The kids in the freezing waters below the falls

Tadpoles in a shallow pool

The large bowl formation above the falls

Esther and Chan at the cave mouth

The cave behind me, the water cutting through the rock

In some aerial shots, this is full of water

Climbing down into the pit

Photobombed by that Lackey kid
I found three geocaches during the hike, including one near the falls and the "Walls" themselves. The cache listing has a good deal of information about the Walls and is worth checking out. Cachers- this is one to add to your bookmark list.

After the hike we stopped to watch the bats fly out of Sauta Cave.

All seven of us at the cave observation deck

An actual bat!

All the pictures from the day are here.
The tracklog and map of the hike into the canyon is here.
Backpacker magazine trail map.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11, 2012 - Bankhead: Caney Creek Falls

Caney Creek Falls is one of the multitude of waterfalls located in Bankhead National Park.Today one wife, one daughter and one me hiked back to first the upper falls and then the less-visited lower falls to play in the water, enjoy the reprieve from the heat and find a geocache or two. 

Upper Caney Creek Falls

Esther, freezing some vital body part off

Coral fungi

Papa Smurf's Summer home

Chan under Lower Caney Creek Falls

Lower falls from under the cliff

Tons of mushrooms out today; we all took pictures

We walked almost 4.5 miles round trip from the parking area and back. We've all been to the upper falls but this was our first time making the hike to the lower falls. It was well worth the extra steps! The water is spring-fed from upstream and is generally deep enough to swim at both falls even in times of low rainfall. Today the center of both pools were well over my head.

I found three geocaches along the trail and near the creek. Two dedicated to the falls themselves and one dedicated to cachers that couldn't find one of the other caches.

More pictures of the hike can be found here.
The tracklog and map of the hike is right here.