Setting up the tent
The never-ending stairs. There was a total of around 1200 stairs. We were very tired by the time we were done.
The suspension bridge is a little more than a 1/3rd of the way down the gorge. It is 80 ft above the gorge floor. It provided great views for those that were not going to the bottom.
Notice the stairs in the background. They were the end of the true trail and there is really nothing after that. The ranger showed us some pictures of what we were supposed to do. I was not nearly as graceful as the people in the pictures. In fact, I sat in the middle of the river for a long time trying to figure out how to cross. I couldn't reach the other rocks. I eventually took my shoes off and got a little wet. Getting back to the stairs at the end was actually very challenging because you are tired and they are shear. So we had to channel our inner Spiderman.
Luke at the bottom of the gorge. They open the dam a couple of times a year. We would love to see the river at full capacity.
The top of Hurricane Falls. The guide told us to just hug the tree line (there isn't one by the way) and scoot across the shear face at the top and don't fall because it is a big drop. My shoes were old and slick and it was a little scary I have to admit.
The bottom of Hurricane Falls. Notice the top of the falls. That is the "tree line" we were supposed to hug.
It wasn't a long hike about 1.5 miles to the bottom and end. You end at Bridal Veil Falls. You can slide down the falls into 15' deep water pool. It was COLD! I was so proud of myself though because I did slide down the rock with Luke. I got water up my nose, but it was fun. The hardest part was getting out of the water because there are no stairs, it is steep, and everything is covered in slick moss.
A group of people sliding. They only allow 100 permits into the gorge in a day. We went early and were number 30th something. The weather was perfect and we were able to make it out before the heat of the day.
We were so tired the next day, but we were off to Amicalola Falls. We are part of the Georgia State Parks Canyon Climbers Club and at each of the 4 parks you have to complete certain tasks to earn your shirt at the end. This was our second park. We had to climb the 600+ steps up to the falls. We luckily didn't have to climb down because we were tired and sore. We took a trail down the mountain. Here we are at the trailhead to the Appalachian Trail.
Being horticulture people, we tend to end up with more photos of plants than ourselves. Here is a tree on the trail that we thought was really neat.
View of the Smokey Mountains from the top of the trail.
Overall we had a great trip. We were tired and decided not to camp at Amicalola Falls because we didn't feel like setting up the campsite again. We decided to drive home. We still have two parks left before we complete the Canyon Climbers Club, but we are looking forward to it.