We returned to Little River Canyon to hike and complete the scenic drive. The hike was easy compared to those we had walked in recent days. Only 2 miles and most of it flat.
We ended the day with more of the scenic drive along the canyon stopping at lookout points.
We visited Desoto Falls and hiked part of the Scout trail in the park. The falls was a small amount of water but we did like the view of the canyon. There was some historical information on the dam and its purpose. Originally build by an A.A. Miller. He may be a relation we are not sure yet. He wanted to have an electrical generator to supply power to the area.
The trail is marked as parts are strenuous. I agree the hike was pretty strenuous and was more walking over rocks than trail. We were warned that the trail was not maintained its entire length in the summer. At one point we were having problems identifying where the trail continued but there was a trail leading up the cliff side. When we got to the top, not an easy climb, we found that at that point we were almost off the parks trail map. So we found it was 2 ½ miles.
We visited Cathedral Caverns which has been a goal of mine since the early 70’s. At that time the family had taken a trip through the area. I asked to see the cavern and when we arrived the gate was locked with a closed sign. If we had taken the tour then it would have been with the original owner. The tour today was 2 hours but we were told that the original owners tours could be more than 4 to 6 hours depending on his mood that day. The cavern was in private ownership until 1987 when the state bought the land but was not opened for tours until 2000.
Archaeological excavations at the mouth of Cathedral Caverns have indicated occupation by Native Americans as recently as 200 years ago and perhaps as early as 7000 BC. The cavern was used during the Civil War in search of materials for gun powder and at one point a hideout from Union soldiers. Later in the cold ware era it was a fallout shelter with 1000's of MRE's and tanks of water.
The cavern is fairly straight from the natural opening to end of the public access path 1.3 miles into the mountain. It has a high ceiling in places well over 100 feet with interesting and impressive formations. This is the wettest most active cavern I have ever visited. There is running water in several locations. Below the level we were walking is a river that flows through the cavern. Last December part of the area we had walked had flooded.
We visited Little River Canyon Preserve today. The visitor center was very helpful. We hiked from the center down to the Little River Falls. Below the falls was a large bowl area over 250 feet in diameter that people were swimming and diving into. After that we hiked on to Martha Falls that has the nick name of "The Hippy Hole". I can only imagine what it was like about 50 years ago when it got the nickname. The falls is a large half bowl shape of at least 100 feet that allows jumping from the ledges into deep water. The falls keep a running flow into the swimming hole. Above the hole is a large flat area that the water flows over to narrow just before the edge.
We then drove down the canyon and stopped at several overlooks. The views were great. At one point it rained for just a view minutes. When it stopped there was a mist moving through the canyon. On the last over look we had a four Turkey vultures soaring over the canyon but though from their perspective it was over 600 feet down to us they were at our level. I never really thought of that bird as appealing but it was interesting watching them float past.
Well we could not stay one more day at Noccalula RV park without moving to a new spot. As that would mean packing and preparing as if we were pulling out we decided to move on to our next location. So now we are in an RV park just outside the Little River Canyon National Preserve. It took just over an hour to get here so not bad. 9.5 mpg from Gadsden to Fort Payne. The plans so far are hiking and enjoying nature for the next few days. The owners have a quirky since of humor. I like it. Here are a few pictures.
Noccalula Falls is a city park that includes the falls, hiking trails, a small gauge train, wild animal habitat, gardens, and buildings from the 1800’s. It is really nice and inexpensive.
The walk down to the bottom of the falls was interesting. Along the way we walked under the overhang and behind the falls. It hung out an unnerving 100 plus feet where the water over the years had under cut. From the edge where the falls fell from to the pool at the bottom is 90 feet. We past a Wisteria plant that was HUGE. The “vines” were a foot in diameter. The small vines were 6 to 8 inches. One stretched over to a tree and wound up it for over 20 feet. We walked past a bolder that had an 8 inch tree growing out of the top. The bottom of the ravine is very lush and almost tropical.
We got here Monday from Cheaha. After setting up we took a walk on a bike/hiking trail that passes 75 feet from the back of the 5th wheel. It was a nice 1 mile walk into the woods around the ravine the Black creek passes through. It is also the source of the falls themselves. We got 10.5 mpg on this leg of the trip.
Down the mountain to shop and fill the truck with diesel. The pantry and fridge are getting bare and need to be refilled along with getting a few other supplies. It is a 50 miles round trip. The people working at the park seemed to think it was nothing. Just a run into town. It will also give us a chance to see the path we will haul out the fifth wheel down to get to the next RV Park.
We hiked over 2 miles through what we thought was Mountain Laurel trail then the Rock Garden Trail. It started out from near the back of the campsite but turned out to be an abandoned trail that put us out at the tower (highest point). So from the campgrounds to there was a rise of about 300 feet then down 300 feet to the restaurant and hotel. From there back along the road to the beginning of Rock Garden trail. Then back across the road past the old water cistern and then the campground. Exhausting but fun and interesting. Total of over 2 miles in just under 2 hours.
I think we have covered all the trails we wanted to hike. This evening we went go back to the patio behind the restaurant and see the sunset.
We hiked 2 miles to the Cheaha falls. It was a lot of up and down but the creek and falls were refreshing once we reached them. The falls were nice but newly fallen trees blocked us going up stream to get very close. Still the creek was cascading some where we walked on large rocks in it.
This evening we decided to go to the Restaurant at the park and have desert. The sunset was nice but we hope for better tomorrow.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...