Friday, March 28, 2008
Fall Creek Falls - Lower Loop Trail
Trail.........................Miles.............Rating............Outcasts Total: 280.5 Miles
Lower Loop Trail.......12 Miles.......Easy / Difficult
Wow, what wonderful weather for hiking. Troy, Marco, and I hit the trail after a six week break. We were needing the outdoors pretty bad. We got on the trail at 11:00am and headed up the east side of the gulf. As I mentioned earlier Troy has attempted this trip twice and due to bad planning and drought conditions, has yet to make it through the gulf.
You start at the trail head and then hike a portion of the paw paw trail to the overnight loop. We planned on making it to campsite #2 for the night. This would get us halfway around the loop and getting the gulf over the first day.
When we signed in the ranger notified us that the boy scouts were staying at our campsite. Well, this is nothing new to us. There were three good water sources before we hit Pine Creek which the ranger said that we would have to carry water from there up to the campsite. This is always the case as well. On the highest climb we like to add water and a lot of it.
We stopped at campsite one for lunch, which is next to a nice creek. From there we headed into the gulf which is a 700 foot drop. Here the flowers were beautiful and plentiful. We stopped at the river for a rest and to gather our extra water. After we built up our strength we headed up to the campsite. The climb was very strenuous and I would rate it difficult to the average hiker and us. The West side is alot steeper than the East if you are making plans to hike. Of course when you reach the top you will hear the sounds of running water as a stream runs near the trail. They didn't rub it in by making us walk through it. We couldn't see the stream but you could hear that it was running well.
Just past the rim of the gulf is the campsite. You can hear boy scouts as soon as you can get away from the sound of water. We came into camp at 3:50pm and the scout leader said that we could share a site with them. We found a site down the road a piece. The scouts had come in the opposite direction and after our discription of the gulf he wasn't sure if they were ready.
They have a men and women bath house next to each other with a tree laid down across the doors. There is a separate out house nearby. If you walk down the service road a short distance there is another site and that is where we stayed.
We were not used to the sun staying up so late. We had plenty of camp time to bond. Marco entertained us once again with kicking over his hot chocolate and stepping in the dogs water dish. We enjoyed the campfire until 10:00pm and called it a night.
I had gotten up Saturday morning completely clogged up and thought it was allergies. I had taken some meds but had felt achy all day as we hiked. Well, I woke up in the middle of the night freezing. I pulled up the old bag and fell back to sleep. I woke up later burning up. Then I woke up and headed straight for the nearest tree. I have always carried diarrhea medicine and now it was going to pay off. A few trips later and I was hoping it was going to kick in soon. Well the next time I woke up my stomach was rolling. I sat up and ran for the open running from both ends. Well, for all of those LIGHTWEIGHT backpackers that count the sheets of toilet paper. THIS WHY YOU TAKE A WHOLE ROLL! IT DOESN'T WEIGHT THAT MUCH!
Troy was going to sleep in this morning, but was up by this time because his dog was not interested in sleeping in. This is vacation! I sat with him as he started the fire and then I headed back to bed. Troy woke me up to check on me. He had already broken camp and Marco was working on his. Let's start the day. We got on the trail at 8:30am.
The trail on this side of the gulf has all of the water falls and swinging bridges. The trail goes by the nature center and then you follow the paw paw trail back to the trail head. Beautiful sites and as we got near the nature center we started to see plenty of people. It was a great day for everyone to be out. We got back to the car at 12:50.
Marco drove me home so I got some rest on the way home. I called my wife and she notified me that my grandchildren had not been suffering from the shots they got from the doctor. They had stayed with us Friday night because of that. My daughter was now sick as well as my grandson. So as the boy scouts say "Always be prepared!