Overnight, there was quite a bit of rain. Very foggy. But I decided to explore more. Friday’s hike wasn’t really challenging. I took a peek at the falls after the rain,
(view from top of falls looking down)
and then headed down the East Ridge trail. I really liked this trail, if it wasn’t pea-soup fog, you could see the mountains to your right (heading south) and some cool rock protrusions on your left. The first section is practically a wide gravel road, with a steady decline.
I didn’t take many pictures because of the fog, thinking I’d take them on the way back. The trail turns and descends into a peaceful easy hike in the woods. On occasion, you can see the ridgeline, but the fog was so heavy, the views were limited.
Lots of woodpecker nests.
The trail crosses the “Appalaichan Trail Arch” and I encountered “Mark” who was doing his first solo backpacking trip to Springer Mountain. I took a pic for him on his cell phone. And took a few more with my camera. (He didn’t know I was taking most of them – I’ll be sending them to him *providing he makes it!)
I took a twirl in the Visitor’s Center where I had the opportunity to “meet” several owls – Zeus, Gizmo, and I forgot the other one… They were all rescued after being hit by cars. Apparently throwing food scraps – ie banana peel or apple core off side of road is dangerous because the critters may get hit by a passing car while munching on it.
Logistically, if I continued on the East Ridge Trail, I’d have a ‘challenge’ with hiking it back to my car before dark. I decided that I wanted to see the falls from below after the rain, so I took the Creek to the blue trail and took my time on the way up. It started raining again heavy, so I broke out my rain poncho and continued on. I really enjoyed hiking in the rain this time. Not many people were out, The difference between before/after rain was noticeable.
Climbing up the stairs, I noticed this:
And this formation was interesting to look into:
This tree’s shape was funky:
And this tree trunk is HUGE, it’s close to the bottom entrance of trail by Reflection pool:
My recommendation to “do” Amicalola Falls: start on the East Ridge Trail down to the Visitor’s Center, cross the road to the Creek Trail, (do the Mountain Laurel loop to Spring if you have the time) but take the Creek trail to the “Reflection Pond” and hike up to the falls. (Yes, you have to do the 640 stairs, but it’s good for your glutes)
There is an entrance / parking lot to the West Ridge Trail just below the main parking area. There are some lovely views of the mountains (on a clear day) on the very short hike. And you can skip the main stairs for the falls. The path is paved, stroller-friendly, and wide. Nice bench to enjoy the view.
Georgia State Parks have a special promo thru March 31 – here’s the scoop: http://goo.gl/ZH2cX The front desk where you check in told me to just call directly, instead of dealing with the 800# (a lot of my info was messed up upon check-in)
Here’s a link to the Amicalola Home Page: http://goo.gl/nmVho *Print out THIS map!