The short trail runs right along the very large creek, with a ton of opportunities to wade right in and frolic. And frolic we did, at nearly each of those opportunities. We watched the girls scamper all over wet rocks and told ourselves they needed to do that, to develop their confidence in themselves, as well as their love of the outdoors. We're both exhausted from this one-mile hike, because that was extremely stressful. The trail is, in many places, downright treacherous, and Sarah fell no fewer than 8 times. I am not exaggerating. She took a full header into the creek, pretty early on. Took it like a champ, too. Each time she fell she managed to damage herself in some new way, though and that sort of thing is wearing. I had to do Reiki mid-hike several times.
All that was well before the perilous part of the journey. Just before arriving at the big fall (80') the trail sort of goes away for awhile, and you must walk along the rocks on the side of the water. Then, it comes back, but it straight up and down. To reach the swimming hole at the bottom of the big waterfall, you must descend a wall of mountain. Someone put ropes up in key places, and using them is the only alternative to simply tumbling straight down to the rocks below. My girls nailed it, but my heart was firmly in my throat the entire way down.
Going back up, I had to lead Sarah safely to the ridge. I was surprised how quickly I forgot that portions of the climb were nothing but slick, wet mud and pulling yourself up the ropes was pretty much it for the ascent. Sarah did pretty well. Kate had a full-on anxiety attack. Jeremiah was stuck with her on the climb while I plopped Sarah on a tree stump and returned to help him. By the time I got back she'd made it through the tough part, but that was pretty much it, she'd climbed and jumped and swum in freezing cold water for hours and she was done. (Jeremiah kinda was too, after coaxing her up the trail while she screamed like she was being murdered for what seemed like an eternity). For awhile, she stood still on the trail, refusing to take another step.
Apart from that drama, during which she refused to release my hand but fervently told me how she would not be speaking to me ever again once we got home and she intended to run away immediately upon our safe return to Atlanta, it was a really fun day. There were a lot of other people out on the trail and they were, all of them, very friendly, a lot of fun and all looking out for each others' safety. The weather, oh the weather, was so absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Blue sky, cool breeze, temperature in the mid-80's...sigh...I fell in love with that weather. The trail was covered with all kinds of interesting mushrooms which seemed to need to be photographed. I missed a few of my favorites, but here are some that certainly house fairies of the woodland sort.
Here are some more random shots from the day. I wish I could've gotten more, but my arms were very busy holding up children while they jumped from rock to rock. My shoulders are actually sore as I type this.