When thinking about the Smoky Mountains, one word comes to mind--WATER! There is hardly a place in this half million acre park that you can’t hear water either running in a stream, down a waterfall, or dripping off a rock or foliage.
It’s wet here. Often when we’re hiking we start out in or climb above the fog and clouds. Humidity is high and it’s more likely to rain than not. At the lower elevations the rainfall averages something like 50 inches each year and more like 90 inches on the peaks. I read somewhere that that is more rain than anywhere else in the country except the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
All that dampness encourages the growth of mosses and ferns which cover rocks, fallen logs and tree trunks. It also creates a breathtaking landscape; one in which I never tire of seeing.
One of the major attractions of the park is the waterfalls. There are about 12 falls that are easy to get too, some are even accessible by car. Rainbow Falls and Ramsey Cascades require a pretty tough hike, but are so worth the effort.
|Mingo Falls, the upper section|
There is a very short two-tenth of a mile trail to the base of the falls. The trail is not difficult. It’s mostly steps until you get almost to the top, but they are steep. At the falls there is a wide footbridge which spans the creek below the falls which makes for easy viewing.
Not having been there before, we went this morning. It probably would be better to see this falls in the afternoon when the sun is in a different position. About 10:30 the morning sun was casting its intense light right on the top of the falls. You can certainly see that in the pictures.
Besides these major waterfalls, there are many unnamed falls around the park. We’ve encountered several as we’ve hiked the trails during the past few weeks.
That’ll do it for today. Thanks for tagging along.