Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's An Adventure

Today, some friends and I carried out an adventure that feels like a tradition in the making. (At least I hope it will be!). Dwayne, Megan, Lindsey, and I set off from the Walmart parking lot all piled in with what seemed like everything we owned in my trunk.

My lead foot got us to Tellico Plains faster than we expected, so we dropped by the best little bakery in the world, Tellico Grains. I picked up a cheesecake brownie, and we proceeded down the Cherohala Skyway towards our somewhat unknown destination. None of us had been to Bald River Falls before...sort of. It turns out that Lindsey had been once. We turned at the first right onto what we thought was the correct road. After about ten minutes, we came to a fork in the road. It was definitely not anywhere near a river or waterfall. I turned around and headed back down the little gravel road. Now, I'm only owning up to the mishap because I believe it is a part of my DNA to not follow directions on the first try, just ask my dad and my priest. While on the way back down, we kept repeating, "It's an adventure. It's an adventure." And what an adventure it was.

Instead of turning, we should have gone straight. We made it to Bald River Falls, but there weren't any open parking spaces. So we went further down the road to a campsite, and we walked back towards the main drag. We took a picture in front of the falls, and then looked up at the sky which had turned a little gray. There was only one patch of blue sky left. Awesome, we all thought. The weatherman said it wasn't supposed to rain. Before we went on the actual trail, we climbed our way down to the bank just below the falls and played there.

We moved onto the trail, and I ran into an old friend that I haven't seen since he graduated last year. That was really nice. We hadn't even made it to the top of the falls before it started to rain. Shelter took the form of a rock outcropping. After 10 minutes or so, I was brave enough to say let's keep going. We didn't drive all the way out to sit under a rock and not hike! Then the rain lightened to a drizzle. I think we made it 45 minutes into the trail before we got to a particularly slick part that was at a weird angle, and the rain had picked up significantly. Not thinking, we didn't bring any ponchos. We decided to turn around and hike home.

The best part was stopping twice instead of going straight back. When it was my turn to be leader, I left the trail and headed down to the water. Dwayne and I walked on the rocks into the middle of the river. While on our way to the little path we saw that led back up to the trail, I took a step with my left foot and landed in a few inches of water. Why worry about a little wet foot? I was already soaked from the rain. Our next detour was another spot on the bank further down where there were plenty of colored rocks. We tried making face/war paint, but the rain washed it right back off.

After our hike in the rain, we went back to Tellico Grains Bakery and had lunch. The sun came back out, and it was the only time we were a little frustrated the entire trip. Of course the sun came out after we ended the hike. Our sandwiches were awesome. If you ever make it up there, try the Waucheesi Club.

This hike, affectionately known as "journalism takes over the hiking trail", was one of the coolest escapades I've had with friends. Even though it rained, we had fun. Truly. We started planning the next trip when the whole group (nine people) can go again. It was quite an adventure: full of trial and error, lots of rain drops, good food, and great company.

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