November 18, 2014

The Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest

Who doesn't love waterfalls?  For those who follow my blog, you know that I love waterfalls almost as much as I love to hike.  On a trip this past summer to Brevard, North Carolina, I learned about the "Land of Waterfalls"--Transylvania County, North Carolina, which boasts 250 scenic waterfalls.  Most of these waterfalls are easily accessible as they are located in Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, and DuPont State Forest.   

DuPont State Forest is a 10,300-acre tract of land between Brevard and Hendersonville, North Carolina. There are six listed waterfalls and miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  Four of the six waterfalls were featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans, and scenes from The Hunger Games were also filmed at DuPont. 

Below are the four waterfalls:  

Hooker Falls
Hooker Falls was my personal favorite as it was easy to photograph.

Not as easy to photograph, you can see how Triple Falls received its name. 

Photograph taken on the rocks at the bottom of the second waterfall known as Triple Falls.  

The trails are easy to hike and include other scenery such as this covered bridge.
High Falls 

Bridal Veil Falls 

Whether you're a hiker, biker, photographer, or looking for a nice getaway, I highly recommend DuPont State Forest.  Nearby North Carolina towns--Brevard, Hendersonville, and Asheville--have wonderful hotels and restaurants which should easily accommodate anyone's style and budget.

To learn more about the history of DuPont State Forest and its connection to the DuPont Corporation, click here.

Below are a couple of helpful websites with more information to help you plan your trip to see the lovely waterfalls of DuPont.  "Keep On Hiking"

Romantic Asheville
North Carolina Waterfalls

October 15, 2014

The Grand Tetons

Mount Moran at 12,605 feet. 

Hiking in the Grand Teton National Park has been on my bucket list for a while, and I was fortunate enough to take a short hike with The Big Guy (my husband) in September 2014 while on a sightseeing trip in the area.  

Grand Teton National Park is approximately 310,000 acres and is located in northwest Wyoming just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park.  The park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile Teton Range as well as the northern sections of the Jackson Hole Valley. The park is named for the tallest peak, Grand Teton at 13,775 feet. On September 14, 1950, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill entrusting the Teton Range, Jackson Lake, and much of Jackson Hole to the National Park Service.  To read about "The Creation of Grand Teton National Park," click here.   

Enough details, let's get to some photographs.  

With over 200 miles of hiking trails, it was difficult to select.  I needed something easy and picturesque. String Lake is a small lake located between Leigh and Jenny Lakes. 

Since the trip was for sightseeing purposes, the only hiking gear I had was my Salomon hiking shoes. 

From String Lake, it was on to Jenny Lake alongside a pretty stream. 

The trails near String and Jenny Lakes are very popular for day hikers, so this sign didn't deter. After all, I took The Big Guy along for protection, and we met many day hikers along the trail. 

The weather can quickly change in the Tetons.  What started out as a beautiful, sunny day quickly changed to a brief hail and rain shower.
Hidden Falls was our destination point. 

Hidden Falls is a popular tourist destination which can also be accessed via a shuttle boat from the Jenny Lake Visitor Center.
Why ride a boat when you can hike the trails around Jenny Lake? 

The Grand Tetons include rich scenery, extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain.  

The only wildlife we saw was an Osprey nest.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a photograph. 

"Mountains of imagination" according to the National Park Service. 

After a 4.4-mile hike in one of America's most beautiful national parks, it was time for a stroll around String Lake and dream of a day when I can go back. 

Perhaps some day I'll hike one of the more challenging trails like the Teton Crest Trail which requires backpacking. I'm learning to backpack so stay tuned for some backpacking adventures.  If you're a backpacker and want to see what it's like to backpack in the Tetons, click here.

Hope you've enjoyed this post. "Keep On Hiking."

September 9, 2014

Chasing Waterfalls

I visited Niagara Falls in April 2014. It's more a walk than a hike, but nonetheless, one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls.  

Earlier this year I listed my hiking resolutions for the year.  One of my goals was to hike to five new waterfalls.  Here is the January 2014 blog post, "Looking to the Future," in case you missed it. 

Here are the five waterfalls:

Located an hour north of Chattanooga in Rhea County, this state natural area is about five miles west of Spring City, Tennessee on Highway 68. 
Stinging Fork Falls is a 30-foot waterfall located within the Stinging Fork Gorge. The creek flows over the fan-shaped falls, then quickly slips through chutes and tumbles over cascades below the falls.  Here is more information on the Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area including trail descriptions and driving directions. (Photograph courtesy of Don Deakins.) 

Horsepound Falls is located in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, part of the South Cumberland Recreation area near Monteagle, Tennessee. 

Horsepound Falls is on the Collins River. Half the flow of the river sinks underground in the pool below the falls. Here is more information on Savage Gulf and access to a map of the area.

When I hiked the Fiery Gizzard Trail in August, I marked off a waterfall as well as No. 4 on my "Looking to the Future" hiking resolution list.  Anderson Falls is a 80-foot double drop located just off the Fiery Gizzard Trail between Raven Point and Laurel Gorge.  Here is more information on Fiery Gizzard.   
Grotto Falls is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Trillium Gap Trail.  It's the only waterfall in the park you can actually walk behind.  It's also a popular tourist destination because of the short hiking distance (1.6 miles one way) and short drive from downtown Gatlinburg.  Here is more information including driving directions. 

Indian Flats Falls is located off the Middle Prong Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  According to,  "Middle Prong is hands down the best waterfall hike in the Smokies. The trail passes three major waterfalls, in addition to numerous smaller falls, cataracts, and cascades."  Directions to the trailhead and falls are provided on the website. 

Below are links to a few blogs and websites you waterfall fans might enjoy:

Appalachian Treks

Romantic Asheville (featuring DuPont State Forest Waterfalls tour)

Waterfalls - Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Explore Asheville - waterfalls in the Asheville area

Waterfalls and Backroads of North Georgia 

Although I've reached my earlier goal, there are still many more waterfalls to discover. Isn't discovery what hiking is all about? So put on your boots, grab your trekking poles, and "Keep On Hiking."

Special thanks to all my hiking buddies who helped me chase these waterfalls! 

August 26, 2014

The Roman Ramblers Hike in Utah

The Roman Ramblers were called the "Chicks with Sticks" while hiking in Utah.  

Six Roman Ramblers traveled to Park City, Utah earlier this year for the hiking trip of a lifetime.  The Roman Ramblers is a group of ladies from Rome, Georgia, who like to hike, eat, and shop (not quite sure of the order). The trip was full of all three activities, but most important, we enjoyed some wonderful hiking in the beautiful state of Utah, known for its diverse landscape and many outdoor opportunities.

Each Rambler contributed her own special talent whether it was planning, navigating, driving, trail research, photography, or meal planning. Hear is a glimpse of our hiking trip to Utah:

After arriving at Salt Lake City, we picked up our rental car and drove to our accommodations for the week, the Westgate Resort, in Park City.  Here is more information on the resort.  

Our first day in Park City (Sunday) was devoted to shopping.  We especially enjoyed the Park City Clothing Company where I purchased a Dorfman Pacific western-style hat which instigated the hat craze. Before the end of the week, every Roman Rambler had purchased a hat.
Monday was a hiking day. The resort provided transportation to Round Valley where we were photographed by driver, Sinisa, before starting our trek.   

After quickly conquering Round Valley, we moved on to Guardsman Pass where a well-constructed cairn provided the perfect trekking pole photograph.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.) 

A cairn is a mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark, typically on a hilltop or skyline.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.) 
After Guardsman Pass, we drove to Big Cottonwood Canyon for more hiking.  There were many scenic overlooks along the drive, and even though it was late May, snow was still on the ground in the higher elevations.  

Big Cottonwood Canyon is in the Wasatch National Forest.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.) 

Our destination was Donut Falls. Due to slippery trail conditions, we played it safe and turned around before arriving at the Falls. 

Big Cottonwood Creek 

Tuesday took us to Salt Lake City for a tour of Temple Square, the Humanitarian Center, and the Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

On Wednesday, we hiked at Mt. Timpanogos near Provo, Utah. 

After listening to warnings from the park rangers on the difficulty of the trail, we hiked the 1.5-mile paved trail (3 miles round trip)  to Mt. Timpanogos Cave.  The trail rose 1,092 feet to an elevation of 6,730 feet.  Even though the Roman Ramblers aren't accustomed to hiking in this elevation, we made it fine. 

On Thursday, we decided to explore nearby Sundance Mountain Resort, made famous by Robert Redford. 

We rode the ski lift to the Black Forest Loop trail and hiked down the mountain for 2.5 miles. 

Sundance Mountain Resort offers many activities including hiking, biking, and skiing.  (Photograph courtesy of Patricia McAlpin.) 

A little rest and relaxation with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid  after our shopping spree at Sundance where a couple of hats were purchased.  

A view of Mount Timpanogos from the ski lift at Sundance Resort. 

After hiking and shopping at Sundance, we drove to Cascade Springs through this beautiful grove of Aspen trees. 

A scenic view on the drive to Cascade Springs. 

Cascade Springs

We ate at some wonderful restaurants while in Park City, but the Silver Star Cafe was my favorite.  Previously featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, it didn't disappoint.  Here is more information on the cafe. 

Showing off a few of our hat purchases while dining at the Silver Star Cafe. 

I recently heard a quote that goes like this........"some women go shopping, but real women go hiking."  Not quite sure where the next trip will take the Roman Ramblers, but in the meantime, we plan to "Keep On Hiking."  

Special thanks to Patricia McAlpin for generously sharing her timeshare with the Roman Ramblers and for her photography skills.