We did two short hikes today. It was a sunny and clear but not too hot.
The hike to Spruce Flats Falls is not on any of the park’s maps or its list of trails. The only reason I found out about it was from a guide book that I had purchased. We think it is not advertised because it is right next to outdoor education center where kids come and learn about nature. Maybe they want to keep it for themselves but they can’t stop people from using it.
The trail runs right behind their tents. As we hiked in to the falls, two groups of kids were heading out (thank goodness!).
It is good for us that it is sort of a secret but bad for everyone because this is just about the nicest waterfall we have been to in a long time and the hike in is only 1 mile. The trails doesn’t even have a name.
You first climb up about 500 feet from the parking lot and then walk along the side of the valley.
There were some nice view across to the other side.
Then you drop about 200 feet to the falls. We loved this log that was carved into steps.
Down we go.
The falls consist of a drop over a rock face into a pool and then a cascade.
There weren’t too many people there. During the entire time we only saw 10 other. One of them took our picture.
We climbed up to get close. The falls look to be about four Jennie’s high.
And then we went to find a spot to sit, have lunch and stare for a while. What a beautiful setting.
I think this will be a future highlight picture of the trip.
All of the really serious photographers don’t seem to want people in their pictures and wait for them to get out of the way. I, on the other hand, really like having Jennie or at least someone in mine. People seem to add a sense of scale and remind me that I was there. (Pics or it didn’t happen)
After a long time we headed back.
We saw some more of the moths.
Next we did the first 1/2 mile of the Chestnut Tops Trail. The trail climbs up a hill side which is said to have one of the best wildflower displays in the park.
The trail was quite narrow and there were some groups from a bus tour being guided by rangers. They each wore names tags that said something like “Spring Wildflower Tour” so you knew they were serious. Lots of tripods for close up photos and staring at field guide books.
We waited patiently for them to notice and let us by.
I put on my reading glasses and we scoured the hillside. All the flowers are pretty small.
Our first red flowers of the year.
We couldn’t figure out what this was. It was about 4 inches tall.
These hadn’t opened yet.
An angry looking stump.
After a while the flowers seemed to end.
So we turned around and headed back to the RV.
It was a short but really good day.