How To See Six Waterfalls In One Day!

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." ~Robert Frost
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost

Yesterday, we headed out for our first parents only trip in six years. It was hard to leave our sixteen year-old, but she will have a blast with her 29 year-old sister; especially, riding around in sister’s new Jeep with the top off! They’ve got manicures and pedicures on the schedule, as well. Sounds like great sister bonding time!

As usual, Darren planned a wonderful trip. We got out of town yesterday around 3:30pm. We wanted to make it to Memphis to maximize our day today. We did make it to the East side of Memphis which we’ve found is a nice area right off I-40 to stay with plenty of eating options.

We arrived late so the snacks in the car were our dinner. Which brings me to a few travel tips, pack:
•    snacks within reach in the car
•    drinks, think about what you’d want to drink with your snacks, water for taking medications and for staying hydrated, and whatever you’d drink for breakfast if you don’t drink coffee or juice. (Are we the only rare people that don’t drink either?)
•    hiking boots in a plastic tote and take a pair of flip flops/crocs/slides for swapping out after a hike. The tote will keep the dirt/mud contained and makes for easy clean up. We leave the tote with the dirty boots in the car and change into and out of our boots at the car. Keeps the hotel/cabin cleaner too!
•    a gallon size ziplock bag to collect all your hotel soaps. (We are collecting this time for my daughter’s mission trip to Brazil this summer.)
•    an old towel and some wipes to clean any mud off your legs (I usually kick myself and get mud right above my boot. Maybe I just need to learn how to walk.)

We didn’t have a room reserved for the night so I drove while Darren did his magic on TripAdvisor. We stayed at a nice Hyatt Place Hotel. It had one of the best hotel free breakfasts we’ve ever had. Well, besides the one in San Antonio that had a breakfast taco bar. All South Texans would agree, breakfast tacos rock!

After breakfast we snagged a couple apples for our hike and loaded up for our next stop…Greeter Falls in Monteagle, Tennessee. Last summer we did this hike. Little did we know there had been a drought and it was a trickle!

When we first left Memphis headed east, the speed limit was only 65mph on the interstate. It was a nice speed trap with cops everywhere. I don’t recall it being like this before but just beware if you are doing that way. Even after the speed limit changed to 70mph, the cops were still out until at least Jackson. Maybe that’s why I -40 in Tennessee is better than in Arkansas? They can afford to fix the roads! Haha!

Stopped for lunch at one of our favorites, Whitts Barbecue. Doesn’t look like much from the outside but the food is always great.

Free Maps!
Free Maps!

We always like to stop at the ranger station or park headquarters before we set out on hikes. They can tell you water levels, and if there are any hazards to look out for on the trails. They usually have great maps and even a visual small scale mountain map…I am sure that has a fancy name but it escapes me at this moment. It’s 10:35pm, I hiked to six waterfalls at this point and I am beyond pooped so help me out…

When we stopped for the info, we were reminded of all the many falls that were in this area. We intended on only hiking to two that were pretty short. We decided to take on the Grundy Forest Day Loop with the extra 1.2 miles for Sycamore Falls. The water was high and the falls were full. In fact, we entered the loop to the right and passed several mini falls and cascades along the way. The trail is nice, ups, downs and flats. Don’t be fooled by the sign like the couple was that passed us on the trail. They thought the Sycamore Falls sign said 6 miles when it said .6 miles. You cross over a nice bridge to get to that trail and it is a stunning hike. A few narrow points but other than that it was great. We finished out the loop in a hurry as we wanted to make it to Greeter Falls before dark.

Again, the ranger gave us great directions along with addresses that we could put in our GPS so getting from one fall to another was a piece of cake. Greeter is in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area. The trail was muddy so we knew it would have water in the fall. It didn’t disappoint! It was worth the trek down the spiral staircase and other stairs.

Greeter Falls
Greeter Falls

After, we climbed out with shaky legs, we decided to go ahead to Boardtree Falls. That short little hike revealed my favorite of the day. The last time we were here it was completely dry. Not even a trickle. Today was amazing! Such a beautiful cascading fall.

See Darren at the bottom of Boardtree Falls!
See Darren at the bottom of Boardtree Falls!

We ended our day arriving at Fall Creek Falls State Park. We’ve been here before too. Enjoyed a nice dinner in their lodge. I had the salmon and Darren had the buffet. We are settled in for the night and will hike the falls in this park in the morning before heading on to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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Travel Reading

Reading a book while you are on vacation or while traveling is a great way to enhance your reading experience as well as your trip.  This was never truer than our trip to Yosemite a few years ago. We flew into San Francisco spending a few days visiting some spots we missed on our first trip there. Must see places like Lands End and China Town. Then we headed south through Big Sur staying overnight in Carmel. Further south we stayed in Cambria to visit Moonstone Beach. The town was quaint and the beach was amazing! Then it was time to circle back to the north toward Yosemite. Once we made it to the National Park we stopped in the Ansel Adams Gallery and it was there I was taken by two books. The first was Ansel’s autobiography. I realized that while I had always admired his work, I really didn’t know much about him. The second was a book of letters. I love letters. The good old fashioned hand-written snail mail kind!

As soon as we checked into the hotel, we headed to the pool. I opened Ansel’s autobiography and lost myself in the places we had just visited. I didn’t realize he grew up in the San Francisco area. Many of the very places we had seen this specific trip were mentioned. Even his travels to Carmel through Big Sur. It was a magical read. He spoke of his love for Yosemite with a passion that was contagious. Reading this specific book on this trip was a perfect fit!

Have you ever planned your reading materials based on where you would be traveling? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or connect with us on Facebook.

I have been reading a ton since summer vacation this year. Here is short list of my latest reads.

  1. Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner
  2. Intentional Living by John Maxwell
  3. The Power of Story by Jim Loehr
  4. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
  5. You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins

*All time favorite book besides the Bible, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’ve read several of Pressfield’s books and loved them all. Currently on my reading table, more Kary Oberbrunner. I will be polishing off three more of his non-fictions while enjoying his Elixir Project fiction work weekly.

  1. Day Job to Dream Job
  2. Deeper Path
  3. Called

Kary’s book Your Secret Name is right up there with The War of Art. Both have been life changing! Lessons in these books literally changed me. I will be writing a full review on my new website www.BrendaHaire.com coming soon.

Are you sensing a theme?  I am working on some deep me stuff and doing some research for my upcoming book. Who knows maybe someday you will be taking my book on your trip? Would love to know what you are currently reading?

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and buy something we make a commission — at no extra cost to you. This is just one way we are able to keep this blog going. So if you enjoy the blog, appreciate the recommendation and were going to buy this stuff anyway, this is a great way to show your support. And don’t forget: We only recommend products and services that we use and love.

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13 Things You Should Have in Your Backpack

backpack
Does this backpack make my…

Darren is the backpack carrier. He has lugged too many water bottles to count up the side of the mountain for us. We usually take two or three per person depending on the length of the hike. One for the way up, one for the picnic and one for the way down. While we are cautious of bear, we don’t use a bear proof specific back pack but we do take precautions.

  1. Put all food in ziplock bags, then in a larger ziplock, and then into your pack. Bears have a strong sense of smell.
  2. Do the same with your trash sealing it back in the ziplocks. Pack it in, pack it out! Bears are killed when they get comfortable around people and cause problems. It all starts with us and how we pack.
  3. Don’t leave your pack unattended.

Here is a list of what we usually pack:

  1. Water
  2. Snacks and/or picnic
  3. Whistle-scares bear and helps people find you if you get lost.
  4. Flashlight– it can get dark fast in the mountain. We have this one because it is also a taser!
  5. Rain poncho– storms can come on quickly.
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Small towel
  8. Pocket knife
  9. Compass
  10. Bug spray
  11. Toilet Paper
  12. I also take chapstick because I don’t leave home without it. Don’t judge me.
  13. Darren also takes gum but don’t spit it on the trail it’s bad for wildlife.

If you want a bear proof bag, here is a suggestion. The backpack linked in the post is the closest I could find to ours. Ours is ten years old! The best thing is to get one that has the water bottle holders on the side and that is water resistant.

Happy trails!

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and buy something we make a commission — at no extra cost to you. This is just one way we are able to keep this blog going. So if you enjoy the blog and were going to buy this stuff anyway, this is a great way to show your support. And don’t forget: We only recommend products and services that we use and love.

 

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