Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cherokee National Forest: Lower Higgins Creek Falls

Noelle is nearing completion of her Master's thesis. Sierra and I decided to give her a day alone to work out some of the last details of her enormous undertaking. We headed over to Erwin to do a little hiking in a recently acquired section of the Cherokee National Forest along Lower Higgins Creek. The hike was mainly along an old road that appears to get some use from ATVs. We started the hike at the end of the official Lower Higgins Creek Road
Sierra and Daddy
where we elected not to cross Higgins Creek on a dilapidated looking bridge
scary bridge
and then climbed steadily uphill along the creek.

Along the way we saw some fall wildflowers in bloom including jewelweed and goldenrod. We also saw lots of these yellow flowers which I am unable to identify.
flower
Soon we found an old number 5 painted in white in a blue rectangle.
number 5
This was one of the highlights of Sierra's day. She excitedly repeated over and over that when she got home she would tell Mommy that she saw a number five on the rock. Just when it seemed Sierra could not get any more excited we approached our destination for the hike: Lower Higgins Creek Falls.
falls again

It was a steep decent from the old road down to the base of the falls.
Lower Higgins Creek Falls
There was a user trail that led over roots, rocks, and slick mud down about 100 feet to some small pools of water. Sierra was excited to "dip piggies in the water" and so that's what we did.
piggies in water
We spent about a half-hour playing in the water
playing in water
yay for water
and enjoying the cool spray of the falls and shade.
falls closeup
Then Sierra ate a snack
eating snack 2
before we carefully climbed back up to the old road for the return to the car. The return, being downhill, went fast. Before we knew it we were back to the parking area where we found, not only our car, but lots of butterflies lounging on the gravel of the road.
butterfly
We admired the butterflies for a bit and then headed into Erwin for lunch.            

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