Friday, December 19, 2014

Rocky Fork State Park: Whitehouse Mountain Cliffs

Today Noelle and I had my parents as babysitters and so we took advantage of the situation and went out for a hiking "date". This was only the 5th time we've been out together alone since Sierra was born 26 months ago. We decided to head over to Rocky Fork, an area of land which has only recently been opened to the public. It was private property until purchased by some conservation buyers and has been transferred to both the State of Tennessee and the US Forest Service.

We made the drive through Greene and Washington Counties and entered Unicoi County. We drove I-26 to the exit for the Tennessee Visitor Center and Rest Area and then headed off into the Rocky Fork area. We parked at a gate near an old home site where only a chimney remains,
chimney
and hiked on a closed, gravel road along Rocky Fork.
noelle hikes road
The area is really beautiful and we particularly the small waterfalls and cascades on Rocky Fork.
cascades
Triple Falls

Eventually our route veered away from the main stream and we followed an old road that was a bit overgrown but occasionally marked by flagging tape. Sometimes the old road followed the bed of a small stream, and so the walk through this section tended to be muddy. Soon enough the old road left the stream and crested a saddle. It was at this saddle that our route followed the ridgeline up and up to our destination. Close to the end of the ascent we saw a bear, just a little one and it seems to have been alone. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the little guy.

After seeing the bear, it was just a short, but steep,
ascending ridge 2
walk up to the summit of Whitehouse Mountain. We enjoyed the view from the summit which included nearby I-26 into NorthCarolina and down into the "Valley Beautiful".
Noelle at overlook
Noelle sitting on rock
We ate a snack there and took a photo of the two of us
couple
before heading back down the mountain.       
on way down

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