Hike 1
Hike 1 -- September 16, 2006
The first time that I saw Jacks River Falls was when my son and I had hiked to it in the spring of 1994. Deanna
had given Michael and I a "7 Day Wilderness Hiking Trip in Colorado" as a Christmas gift in 1993 and I was taking
him on all sorts of hiking trips so that we could both train for our adventure later that summer. I wrote about
that trip in a story called
"Miles High and Climbing" and it is posted on over Mike's Reading Library.

I had been back a few times since then and was always wanting to share this hike with someone else. My friend
Lizz who is an avid outdoor fan -- hikes,  runs -- said she would love to go with me so after we finally got our
schedules sorted out (including a CLOSE eye on the weather,) we linked up and headed for
the trail head to begin our hike.

I mentioned keeping an eye on the weather because having already observing first hand how treacherous all the
creeks (and rivers) can be in the Cohutta Wilderness Area after heavy rains (read that to be raging, flooding
torrents of angry waters racing downstream), we wanted to make sure we had a "safe" weekend to hike.

The hike down to the falls was great and after we got there, we throughly enjoyed the time there while we
munched on snacks we brought and just hung around in the warm sunshine sitting there on the rocks and watching
the waters thunder past us and over the falls.

All rested up, we made our way back on the 4 mile trip to the parking lot. This hike is one of those hikes that can
seems like it is 4 miles in and 6 miles out, even though you walk the same trail both ways. Because of the up and
down paths that the trail takes (and being tired), going back and can seem like it is "further to go than coming in."

Soon we were safely back at my truck and we were on our way home -- another fantastic hike in the books.
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Finally at the trail head. Lizz
stretching after a 2-hour ride up
from Marietta.
Full parking lot. "Some people"
parked wrong (back row) and
those three cars took up about
10 "head in" spaces.
Actual trail head -- in Tennessee.
The Georgia state line is about
1/4 mile south on the trail.
Lizz all set to go. She hikes a lot
and is really looking forwards to
exploring a whole new place.
"Here's your sign!"
First of several creeks we
crossed over. The trail is on an
old logging narrow-guage
railroad bed (removed
approx.70 years ago).
"Good morning, Mr. Spider."
Ooooh! This spider "weaves"
in color!
Names carved on side
of a huge Beech tree.
"You know who" just
had to cut her initials
into the tree.
Lizz standing by one of the
largest Hemlock trees in
the Cohutta Wilderness you
will ever see.
After almost 2 hours, we break
out of the "bottoms" and onto
Jacks River. Looking down river
towards falls.
Lizz grateful to be out from the
cover of a totally shaded trail and
into the sunlight by the river.
River up close where we came
out of the "woods."
Top of the falls area -- already a
crowd down below (30 ft lower).
Looking straight down over top
of falls -- river almost a 100 feet
lower at bottom.
Looking to the left -- you can
see the "jump off rock" -- 30 ft
leap into ice-cold pool below.
Looking back upstream -- just
before falls start to take shape.
Looking back upstream -- just
before falls start to take shape.
Middle falls area -- smaller pools
to play in -- like in "ice-cold spa."
More middle area. During flood
times, all of this area is under
water.
Another view of the middle falls.
Lizz soaking in the view.
Close up (telephoto) of falls.
Behind us is a 80-foot high cliff.
The river really has cut a gorge
through here -- maybe close to
200 feet all together.
Playing "dangerously" in the falls.
Lizz shucking boots and socks
-- headed for one of the pools in
the middle falls area.
Time to relax and enjoy the
beauty all around you.
Lots of water over the falls.
During flood times, the
noise is deafening.
Looking down towards the
lower pools and the river
making its escape.
Jacks River free once again to
meander through the
wilderness.
Another look "back up" the falls.
Swim here and float back
under falls -- will pound you
to the bottom.
When I show up wearing my
NYPD T-shirt, all the "smokers"
hide their cigarettes ... :-)
Lady sunbather getting out of
middle pool.
The river is closely hemmed in
by the forest on both sides. We
are about 4 miles south of the
"parking lot."
Explorer Lizz surveying the
falls...
"Yeah, ready to go back."
Last look at the falls -- headed
back to parking lot and home.
Trail by river. Long section
here has been "cleared" of
all river-side brush.
Headed back to the bottoms --
steps made by hikers to help
out on other side of creek we
had to cross.
Back in the bottoms and
crossing one of many "rock
filled, dry creek beds." They
become "rivers" during heavy
rains.
"Beech Creek." 1/2 mile back
from river. This is where "One
Thin Rope" took place -- "entire"
area was under water and a
raging river was roaring by.
Looking "up creek." During
"One Thin Rope," creek was
5-foot deep and 50 yards wide
here.
Whole area was boiling, raging
river during rescue. Kids were
on top of huge log far side
(behind 3 trees with small log in
front, root ball in sun.
Pipe was in place 12 years ago
-- walked across then in 1 ft of
water. Saw later that if had
been 2 ft to right, would have
dropped into 6-ft deep hole!
Lizz heading for the gate
and the comfort of the truck.
Long day, tired and sore but
a wonderful, beautiful hike.