Abut 30 miles from Asheville I turned off the highway and went 5 miles east, then after 3.2 miles, the old blue barn, 2 stop signs and over a tiny bridge, I pull off to the side of the road. I think its here. I start my hike in with a beautiful blue sky above me and a little mud below me. I can usually hike a mile in about 15ish minutes so thats how I calculate how far in Ive gone. This guy the night before had told me it was about a mile in - but 45 minutes later I was still going BUT I could here water coming ahead. So about 3 miles at least in... .
The farther I hiked the muddier it got and a little slippery...doesn't stop me. I didn't even think twice.
So I finally found the 3rd turn by the red barked tree and headed down. It was really wet. And muddy. He had told me to rope down once you get about 1/3 down otherwise you wont be able to get down to the bottom. NO problem I thought. I was grabbing branching and tree trunks and slowly making my way down. I tied the rope and slowly made my way down the rest of the 100 or so feet. I slipped more then once but it wasnt bad. And there it was.....beauty. A grand waterfall with the clearest pool of water underneath. I started jumping from rock to rock to try and get underneath the falls...and then I slipped and fell on my bum....and hard. WOA! just a reminder to be a bit more careful.
I sat down and just watched from where I was for about 15minutes. I figured since I was already down there I had to keep going right? so I did - and then I slipped on some mud - hard and knocked myself out....probably only for a second or two. Scary. I laid there and thought - woa- did I break something? I felt something trickling down my leg- i was hoping for mud. I slowly sat up and instantly felt dizzy and my body started to complain - (my bum and arms and knee)
The ass of my pants was ripped out and there was blood running down....mud everywhere...both of my elbows and knees were bleeding and the back of my head too. And what did I do. Laugh. I laughed knowing that I had just hiked 3 miles into the middle of nowhere, by myself, in the muddy spring, cascaded down a rope with no other way to get down OR up, where no one could possibly see me from the top, no one knew I was there but some server in Charleston south Carolina that probably didn't even think I would really go anyway. I laughed that I didn't REALLY hurt myself, that my right ass cheek was showing to the world(or at least the squirrels that were laughing at me) and then I suddenly stopped laughing. I had to somehow climb back up that rope, with a throbbing, bleeding right arm and a ripped, bleeding right ass cheek. Awesome. And I did it - and then started hiking out the 3 miles realizing that the beautiful blue sky had suddenly turned black and I could see lightning and hear thunder - and yes- it started getting breezy and blowy and started to downpour. And I was hiking down the mountain in the mud.
I made it to my car-3 and a half hours after I had first left it. I was soaked, had mud and blood stained clothes and my body was tired and throbbing. It was awesome and stupid. i got in the car and headed back to the highway to try and find a room for the night in Asheville and as I was driving I promised myself that was my last long hike without another person...
I did find a great B&B to stay at - at Cumberland Falls on a last minute deal. When I walked in I'm sure he looked at me and wondered what kind of gang fight I had been in...I looked awful. I went up to my top floor room and took a bath with a glass of wine. That night I went to dinner at Curate- a delicious Spanish tapas restaurant that reminded me of Jaleo- Jose Andres restaurant. I had Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp and garlic), peppers and goat cheese, beet salad with marcona almonds, pork sausage with white beans, Manchego and prosciutto, and a couple glasses of tempranillo...THat shrimp dish, piquillo peppers and sausage were so flavorful and delicious. Some of the best food I had in the south east.....Awesome, rainy night dinner. I also met a great older couple from Chicago that was getting married soon and so in love. They added a great element to my night and I helped them pick out their dinner as they were "newbie foodies". www.curatetapasbar.com
The next day I drove down the Blue ridge parkway and hiked about 10 miles and saw 7 waterfalls. I ended up in Atlanta for a very late dinner at Mortons ( a 22 oz porterhouse and a bottle of Paraduxx later). A great adventure through Georgia, SOuth Carolina and North Carolina. I will be back - Loved it