December 29, 2013

Memorable Hikes of 2013

At Berry College's House O' Dreams atop Lavender Mountain.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin)

2013 has been quite a memorable year.  One of my goals for developing Hiking With Lipstick was to inspire and motivate others (especially middle-age women like me) to improve their physical and mental health by hiking in the beautiful outdoors. I hope in some small way my goal has been accomplished.

Hiking has been so beneficial to my physical and mental health.  I have developed many new friendships, hiked many beautiful trails, and created wonderful memories.  

Here is a glimpse of some memorable hikes in 2013: 

MOST SCENIC HIKE:  the Sentier du Littoral, Cap d’ Antibes, France

The Big Guy (my husband) and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary in May with a trip to France. What’s a trip to France without a little hiking?  Fortunately,  I was able to convince the Big Guy to hike the Sentier du Littoral located in southern France on the famous Cote d’Azur (Azure Coast) near Antibes. It is a coastal pathway which skirts by multi-million-Euro mansions, guarded around the clock and walled in tall fences. 

Who says you need a Ferrari or Porsche to enjoy the French Riviera?  Just a good pair of sturdy legs, good hiking shoes, and two hours of time is all you need.   Here is a link to Azur Alive--where Provence comes alive.

Forget the mansions. The more interesting scenery was by the water with white limestone creeks nibbled by salt and water, and the deep blue (azure) of the water.

SHORTEST HIKE ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL:  Long Creek Falls, Blue Ridge, Georgia

(Photograph courtesy of Chattanooga Hiking Meetup) 
The Long Creek Falls trail is an almost 2-mile round trip along the combined, Appalachian Trail (AT), Benton MacKaye Trail (Section 1), and the Duncan Ridge Trail.  Shown above is Long Creek Falls, one of three beautiful waterfalls on this trail.  

Waterfall No. Two.  Long Creek Falls is well known to AT “thru hikers” since these Falls are only a short distance from the main trail. It is also a popular destination for day hikers.   

The third waterfall.  Long Creek Falls trail  is great for photographers or those want to enjoy the beautiful outdoors without a long, difficult hike.

MOST DIFFICULT SHORT HIKE:  The George Disney Trail, Rocky Face, Georgia

The Disney Trail is named for Confederate Civil War soldier George Disney who is buried at the top of Rocky Face, a mountain west of Dalton, Georgia.

The trail, grave site, and small park area atop the mountain are maintained by the Boy Scouts of America.

The Disney Trail is only 3 miles (in and out), but is considered the most challenging, short trail in the state of Georgia.

A beautiful view of northwest Georgia from the top of Rocky Face, steeped in Civil War history.  Here is more information on why this mountain range was such a challenge for William Tecumseh Sherman.

MOST DIFFICULT LONG HIKE:  Noland Divide in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park near Bryson City, North Carolina 

One of my goals for 2013 was to hike longer, more difficult trails: 10- to 15-mile trails.  The Noland Divide Trail at 11.6 miles offers one of the most scenic all-day hikes in the Smokies and has the largest elevation change of any trail on the North Carolina side of the park.

At 3.5 miles, Lonesome Pine Overlook offered an incredible view of the mountains as well as a nice rest stop.

The book, Hiking Trails of the Smokies, recommends hiking this trail from top to bottom--Clingman's Dome Road to Deep Creek Campground.  Because I wanted the challenge, I took the uphill climb. Fortunately, I was part of a 10-person group with five hikers going up, and five going down.  We accomplished what is called a "key swap."  Two cars were parked at each trailhead, and when we met on the trail, we exchanged car keys and agreed on a rendezvous after the hike.  

Here is "proof" that I finished the climb.  There were a few rest stops along the way as well as some self-coaching: each step took me closer to the end of the trail.

MOST FUN HIKE WITH A FRIEND:  Savage Gulf  in the South Cumberland Recreation Area near Dunlap, Tennessee 

(Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin)

Original plans were to hike on the campus of University of the South near Sewanee, Tennessee. Fortunately for my friend and me, our plans changed so we hiked at nearby Savage Gulf State Natural Area.  

After an overnight stay in nearby Monteagle, Tennessee, we ventured out with our map to hike on the 4.2-mile Savage Day Loop Trail.  Don't worry, we registered at the Ranger Station.

One of the highlights of this trail is Savage Falls.  Above, the rushing waters and cascades of Savage Creek just prior to the falls.

Beautiful Savage Falls.  Have I mentioned that I love waterfalls?

Rattlesnake Point Overlook offered another spectacular view of Savage Falls.  No, we didn't see any rattlesnakes.

(Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin)
After lunch, it was on to another trail at Savage Gulf, Greeter Falls Loop, which didn't disappoint.

(Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin)
The daredevil kayaker who performed some thrilling maneuvers through the rushing waters below Greeter Falls didn't disappoint either.

Hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane which leaves me with the desire to return to these trails in 2014 so I can "Keep On Hiking."


  1. Is France within driving distance of Chattanooga? I'd like to check out that Sentier du Littoral trail.

  2. Don, sure wish France was within driving distance of Chattanooga. I suspect a club hike would be in order every now and then! Thanks for reading my blog. I need to get some Cumberland Trail maintenance done this year.

  3. We did a little trail maintenance yesterday. I'll let you know next time and maybe you might join us.

  4. This blog is so awesome!! Many memories and great times! Such beautiful pictures!! Hoping to find more trails and good times ahead with you Barbara!!n ~Patt