Saturday, February 6, 2010

DeSoto Falls

Me and the girls went to DeSoto Falls years ago with their cousins. Actually, I'm not sure Sophie went, she may have been too young, it was that long ago. Today it was in the low 30's and sprinkling snow, but that's good weather these days. Sophie was in. I promised Iz we'd stay on trails and that the trails we were going on were popular. She was in too.

There was one other car in the parking lot.

First we took the short trail to the lower falls. The other folks that were in the parking lot were coming back the other way.

"Ha ha. Dad. I'm drinking the falls. Take a picture of me drinking the falls. Huh, huh."

 Iz Drinking the Falls

The trail to the upper falls was longer. The last time we were there the kids were so little that it seemed like a hundred miles to them. This time they were just talking and joking the entire time.

It's too bad there's nothing to provide scale. The falls looked awesome. The last time it was barely a trickle.

 Upper DeSoto Falls

The snow was just barely starting to stick.

 Snow on the Rail

Sophie was sliding around on the deck.

 Sophie on Upper DeSoto Falls Overlook Platform

The map showed another set of falls to the north and a trail leading toward them. Apparently the trail used to be part of the DeSoto Falls system, but it's not maintained any more and there was a sign posted, discouraging people from hiking it. By the looks of it, the sign was working. Perhaps though, the trail could stand a little traffic today.

The trail was a little overgrown here and there...

 Daniel Camp Cove Trail 1

...but not enough to bother Iz. She was happy until we started climbing. It was super steep and apparently hikers had scrambled up it for one year too many. I can see why it was closed.

 Kids Climbing Daniel Camp Cove Trail

There was one little overlook where you could see the lower falls.

 Daniel Camp Cove Falls

"And I realized with horror that I'd seen this awful thing before..." One winter, years ago, while climbing Neels Gap on my road bike, I'd looked over, seen the falls and thought it was awesome. Since then I've looked but never seen it. You can't see it in the summer, too many leaves on the trees. Standing at the overlook today though, I could see the road.

The trail led up to the creek that generated the falls, and there was even a bridge and an old campsite up there. The trail appeared to keep going to the north, but we wanted to get further upstream. It looked like there was another falls up there. The girls and I headed upstream, off trail and without realizing it, I broke my promise to Iz.

At first it was easy, but after a challenging creek crossing, the girls were terrified of going any further uphill. It was rockier up there and we might have to cross the creek again. I was confident they could do it, I've seen them climb over much tougher terrain, but they were a little freaked out and disoriented. They weren't even sure which way to go to get back to the trail. I felt so sorry for them. I knew exactly where we were and which way to go, but I couldn't convince them that it was OK. They needed to get their own confidence back. Continuing up definitely wouldn't do that.

"Pretend you're lost in the mountains. If you have to get out, which way do you go?"

"Downhill. Follow the creek."

And we did. I followed their lead, right back to to the trail and they knew to take that downhill too. Before long we were laughing and joking again and the trauma was over. It didn't hurt that it was warmer down at the bottom too. Poor girls though. I hope the memory of being able to overcome the fear outweighs the memory of the fear itself.

We ate at the Yahoola Creek Grill. I always forget about that place and end up eating at Moe's or Zaxby's or something, then I drive by it and I'm like "Oh yeah..." Well, today we finally ate there. Grouper fingers. Yes. I'll definitely eat there again.

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