Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Walls Of Jericho
Day One….3.4 Miles to camp
Day Two….0.5 Mile to Walls
3 Miles to Alabama trailhead
1.5 Miles to TN Horse trail
0.5 Miles to Hiking trail
3.6 Miles on Mill Creek Loop
.25 Miles to Blow Hole
0.5 Miles to Parking lot
Lora and I headed to Bear Hollow Mountain WMA after church on Sunday. We stopped for lunch in Sewanee and got on the trail shortly there after. We hiked from the Tennessee trailhead down to what we thought was the Primitive campsite in Alabama.
A quick note to anyone hiking in this area; the map on the computer, the map at the TN trailhead, and the map at the Alabama trailhead are all different. None of them show all the trails.
Lora was excited about the hike. I picked up on this as soon as she jumped because a part of someone’s sunglasses was lying in the middle of the trail. It would have been a small snake. Anyway, right off the get go you hike to an overlook. From there we took the main trail to the campsite. It is all down hill on the way there. It is 2.4 miles to the state line and another mile to the campsite. You drop 818 feet just to the state line.
When we got to the bottom and crossed Mill Creek on the bridge, we came to the horse trail. You cannot ride horses to the Walls of Jericho, so they have a hitching post for the horses there. Well there are also fire rings here in a mowed part of the field. So we figured “campground” and set up camp. Our timing was good as the rain came in as soon as the tent was up, so we climbed in the tent.
After the rain cleared we went for a swim in the creek. Ya, it was COLD! After we thawed out, we went back to camp and cooked dinner. We watched the sun go down and then got to watch the firefly’s do their thing.
In the middle of the night it was bathroom time. I got up as well as Lora and hiked to the woods. As I was standing there, I could see something glowing on the ground between me and the tent. I shined the light on it to see what it was and I couldn’t see it. I figured that I must have dropped something. So I walked over to look at it. It was a glowing grub!!!!!! Now that’s cool! I called Lora over to check it out.
The next morning we got up and made breakfast. Then we hiked toward the Walls. The first thing we came across was the campground, woops. There of course was a sign in the middle of it stating “Campground” incase you couldn’t figure it out on your own. There was also a sign pointing to the South Rim trail. This trail was on neither of the maps we discovered so far. (On the Alabama trailhead map it shows this trail to be .5 miles that over looks the walls) There is no sign showing what way to the Walls. The trail is actually behind the grave yard that is next to the camp. After finding the trail we headed to the walls.
The trail to the walls is very narrow and very slick after a rain. There is a rope to help you up and down on one hill. After you get to the end of the trail you cross the creek and go past a large pool with a waterfall. There is a small trail that leads you up on top of the falls where the walls are.
You can continue to climb further up two more levels to a large cave like opening that drops down and the creek runs through it. The creek runs underground around to the left and then comes out through the rocks like a large spring. There were pools all around that were full of tad poles and we found a large crawfish in one. There were lots of wild flowers all along the walls.
We hiked back to the campground where Lora showed me another snake dance as there was a copperhead in the middle of the trail. After her nerves calmed down, we ate a snack on the park bench at the campground.
After lunch we hiked the trail up to the Alabama trail head. For some reason it was all uphill. When we got to the trailhead, we stood under the kiosk looking at the maps while it rained. This is where we noticed all the differences in the maps. It stopped raining so we hiked to the campsite by the trailhead and ate lunch under a large tree while it rained again. When it was done raining we got up and hiked the horse trail to the TN Horse trail parking area.
The horse trail is an old roadbed and we came across a puddle that covered the entire road. Right in the middle was the top of a shell. We poked it with the hiking stick and verified that yes, it is a snapping turtle. He will be so embarrassed when he finds out that this is not a pond.
From the TN horse trail we hiked back to the hiking trail, headed back down to the bottom of the Mill Creek Loop trail. While we were hiking the horse trail, we came across a batch of wild raspberries that were ready for the picking. And picking we did. They were good. I heard an awful scream and away Lora went again. She had just about stood on a large rat snake in the berry patch. I had to hand her the rest of the berries as she would not come off the trail.
The Mill Creek Loop trail has a side trail that leads off to the “Blow Hole”. This is where the creek comes out of a cave and flows into Mill Creek. It is very beautiful to look at, but another muddy goat trail to get there.
From the Blow Hole, we hiked back up to the TN trailhead for the completion of another wonderful hike. Yes, Lora did jump again when we passed the parts of someone’s sunglasses on the trail again.