December 27 – 29, 2018
Starting up the blog again is like getting back into my gym routine. I don’t have to, but a part of me wants to.
Anyway, the point of my trip to Tennessee was to visit Apache (Katie). Apache has, as long as I’ve known her, suggested I come check out Tennessee, more specifically, Chattanooga and its surrounding waterfalls. I met Apache in the Smokies on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. She also traveled with me to a variety of hiking destinations from October 2017 to August 2018 while she lived in Maryland.
Katie during the trip was nothing, but straightforward when trying to convince me to move to Tennessee. It was very much a running joke during the trip. I would like something about Tennessee and she would say, “move to Tennessee.” I wish I could share the full experience. If only I could download the experience from my brain and share it here. Tennessee was a beautiful state and I really would like to eventually live in Tennessee. That being said, let me break the trip down and share what I can…
Day 0 – December 26, 2018
Quite the long drive, but I survived off a combination of audio books, music, and bathroom breaks. I arrived around sunset, made dinner/ate, and went out to explore Chattanooga. We explored the pedestrian bridge which crossed over the Tennessee River, the Bluff View Art District, home the coffee shop she works at, Rembrandt’s Coffee House where we stopped for some coffee, and Coolidge Park that Apache said were the best places to see the city at night.
Day 1 – December 27, 2018
I was distant the first day from what I remember. It may have been a combination of events, but it was likely that 10-hour plus drive the previous day, driving to Tennessee. Next time, I am going to fly. I am a person who enjoys driving, especially through country side, but now, having driven from Maryland to Tennessee and back, I’d say anything over 5 hours at once is just too much for me.
This trip, I did not have any part in planning aside from the dates we were going to take off from work, so I had no expectations, no assumptions. When Katie took me to the first Falls, I honestly was blown away by the spectacular views of not only the intense waterfalls, but the terrain and high walls surrounding them. The photos do not do a justice. I recommend checking out at least one of the following waterfalls.
Fall Creek Falls – The highest waterfall, east of the Mississippi River in the United States at 256 feet.
Apache did not appreciate the amount of rain Tennessee had been getting over the past couple of days until the sight of this beast. Here is a photo of what Apache was expecting:
Hiking down to the base of Fall Creek Falls I felt high for lack of a better word. I was ecstatic! Not only were the falls stunning, the trails were too, delightful, pleasing, and even colorful during the winter of all seasons!
Next, we headed to Piney Creek Falls in the same park called, Falls Creek State Park. This was a rather unique water fall. Something I have never seen before, a waterfall with no visible destination, exiting underground. On the way to this water fall, Apache mentioned that the trail to the falls is poorly managed and marked, which to be honest is strange because there is a suspension bridge that is part of the trail. If I were alone, visiting for the first time, I personally would not go down this trial. The bridge is super interesting, but the trail is sketchy. Apache would disagree with me on this one. She did not seem bothered by the trail.
On to the next destination, same park. I am no color expert, but the color the water stood out to me between a pine green and a jade green. I popped the color in the photos as close as I could get it to match what it was like to be there in person. Close up, my camera can pick up the colors, but anything more than 5-feet away is toned down. I was very much left in awe from its beauty as you can faintly tell by the way I am leaning, taking in the falls.
Another beauty, across the suspension bridge you can see in the above photo of the Cane Creek Cascades leads to another falls further down the river to a look out of Cane Creek Falls. In warmer weather, I would not mind reading a book up there. – Insert synonym for beautiful here. –
At this point, we finished the day Apache had planned at noon. I remember asking Apache what she did with her other friends after this point and she said, “go home.” Sometimes even after just the first falls they’d be finished. I am sure my mouth dropped at this moment. I was shocked. The waterfalls were some of the best waterfalls I have ever seen in my life! Next, she said something along the lines of that you have to remember that the majority of people are not as conditioned and don’t care for the journey like you and I, they care more about the end result, the photo at the destination to share later with friends. After, picking our next destination, we later started talking about how we wish we had more friends to go on hikes with and our appreciation towards one another. I would like to take the time now and say that I am extraordinarily pleased to have met Katie and have her as a friend to go on hikes with. Words alone don’t manifest how appreciative I feel.
With the extra time we had for the day, Apache made the call to check out the nearby Rock Island State Park, home to Twin Falls and several other small ones due to the amount of rainfall.
The trail is meant to be hiked in the summer months of the year so we had to take an alternative route. The waterfall was another unique one, it was coming out of a cave on the side of a hill.
The last waterfall of the day was one of the several waterfalls in which Katie said she has never seen before and likely would not exist without the tremendous amount of rainfall recently. This one was also unique. It was a waterfall that you could go around via the cave behind it. If any one knows what the rock carrying the falls is made of, I’d like to know. It looked like a clay like substance that then hardened to take the shape of a bridge over time, though did not feel like what I would expect hardened clay to feel like.
Got back to town right around dinner and went to a dope sushi place called, “Sushi Nabe.” Looking back, it’s not overall the best sushi place I have been to, but home to one of the best sushi rolls I have ever had:
Normally, it is served with a hot sause (that I am blanking on the name of) on top. If you know me personally, I can not handle spicy food. I hear it is amazing both ways, but to each their own on the sause.
The rest is a blur, but I am pretty sure we were too tired to do anything else. Oh yeah before the sushi place we explored the city again, so I could see what the city looked like during the day. Chattanooga is beautiful any time of the day, but at night you can really see how far the city spreads, as Apache mentioned the previous night.
Day 2 – December 28, 2018
We were both expecting nice weather, much warmer weather and not as wet. For this reason, Apache switched plans up a little to better accommodate the itinerary. It down poured, fortunately, while we were traveling. As soon as we saw the running water down the trail, I could feel the lift in excitement. I would like to say Apache felt similarly based on her expression. 😂
This was Greeter Falls…
And this is what the falls normally looks like…
And this is what the dope trail maintenance looks like…
The next falls is a double-Decker waterfall and I don’t have a comparison photo, but Apache said the bottom falls hardly ever flows.
This one you could go partially behind.
I believe Apache said this is her favorite trail to do in the rain. The name of trail is Greeter Trail…
…and we took that trail to an overlook, chilling here until we needed to regain heat.
In between destinations, since we had the time and were close, we checked out another waterfall which appeared to be on private maintained property that no one seemed to be living on. To me this was weird because this waterfall on Google Maps had a name, “Ovoca Falls.” It was a spectacular waterfall, but I don’t recommend going here without at least attempting to ask permission first.
The next trail was by far my favorite, home to Foster Falls. Since it had been raining, the color of not only the green, but also the blue moss, the surrounding evergreens, the reddish pine needles, the texture of the bark on the trees, and the dead yellowish grass were all so vivid. Ah! It honestly felt like I was walking through one of my dreams.
Apache is a big fan of moss, especially the blue moss.
Normally, there is only one waterfall here.
As we turned on to the Climber’s access trail then on to the Climber’s loop trail, the terrain changed to a much rockier terrain which I very much enjoyed though I am more of the kind of person that craves such terrain with a challenge, even if wet as long as there is no drop off or cliff accompanying those wet rocks.
I am not sure if you can see in the photo, but there were climbing routes already clipped into the rock on the walls to the left of us on the way to the base of Foster Falls.
Nobody was climbing I am sure for one reason or another…Foster Falls:
Back in Chattanooga we pretty much got back changed and went out to dinner again. This time we went to a popular burger place, called “Urban Stack.” It was good from what I remember, though a little on the pricey side. Afterward, we went to a place called, Milk & Honey. Very cool vibe. I recommend the Burnt Sugar latte. <3
Day 3 – December 29, 2018
We were very comfortable with each other by day three. Apache even a couple times today captured my rare, but natural smile. We were also both jamming out to each other’s music. Apache has fantastic taste in music! <3 The song we played probably the most was Pork Soda by Glass Animals. I’m a big fan of Glass Animals and she got me into them. I recommend them. They have a unique quirky hipstery style. I very much like how capable they are at capturing raw emotion, pulling on your heart strings in the process, at least for me. If I am ever in a bad mood or even good, this is my jam.
On today’s agenda we hiked out to Spooner’s Rock and back for a total distance of 5.9-miles in Cumberland Trail State Park. There is a shorter trail to the view point, but it isn’t much of a trail.
Apache cracked a Michael Scott joke to get that smile you see above. Afterward, we got breakfast at Aretha Frankensteins. Without a doubt, this is a must stop if you are willing to wait for a table. This place very much resembles what I thought Chattanooga would be like from the way Apache spoke of Chattanooga over the years.
Our next destination, Piney Falls (Upper and Lower), not to be mistaken with Piney Creek Falls from Day 1, was another unique one, you could walk, with plenty of room behind to the other side, surrounded by a patch of an evergreen forest.
Upper Piney Falls:
Lower Piney Falls you really couldn’t get close to. This was the best shot I was able to get:
Supposedly, there is another waterfall called “Rose Falls” located here and the peeps that seemed to know of its existence took the liberty to draw on the map by the trailhead of two ways to get there. Since, both ways required us to cross the river, we decided against checking it out, for the water levels were too high.
With the extra time we had, after checking out the fire tower Apache wanted me to go up and see the view from (see above photo), we headed over to Ozone Falls, a waterfall that is feet from a highway and railway. The name matches the feeling of being there in person. This was a waterfall you could also go behind but far behind. The walls surrounding you stretch more than a hundred feet up in the shape similar to a cove. It was a cool waterfall to end the trip with.
Day 4 – December 30, 2018
Today was not in the original plan. More like an extra day, a day for me to get ready and take a breather before having to drive back to Maryland. The majority of the day, I worked on my laptop at the coffee shop Katie works at, though I did check out some other places Apache recommended, but did not get the chance to show me, such as Southern Squeeze and Lookout Mountain.
To my surprise, there was an entire town on Lookout Mountain. This was the view of Chattanooga from Roper’s Rock.
After her shift, we split a Mellow Mushroom pizza and later went to the end road where she lived to the train tracks so I could show her the bizarre sight I saw earlier this morning with what I think was a dead cow, but it was unfortunately too dark and a train started coming right when we started crossing the tracks to check it out.
Have a look at the tail in the close-up photo. Doesn’t it look like an odd position for a cow to die in?
When you look up Chattanooga, you will see advertised, Ruby Falls, which is a 145-foot underground waterfall along with Rock City Gardens. I went to neither of these. Apache as I remember said she didn’t want to burden me with a tourist trap. My first thought was, omg I have a true friend that really cares and knows me. That being said, even as I said earlier in this post, I am grateful I have a friend that also has a similar appreciation and love for the outdoors like I do. I am positive that we will be executing many trips like this one in the near and distant future. 😊
I loved Chattanooga. It has a hospitality Portland, Maine vibe with a weirdness similar to Portland, Oregon, not to mention the abundance of outdoor hiking spots in the surrounding area. Without a doubt, I would love to live there. Career wise, my roots are in Maryland, but potentially in my line of work, if I really work at it, I know I can will a plan into existence, maybe 3-5 years down the line.