Roaring Fork and Laurel Falls

Trip Start Sep 25, 2010
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Trip End Oct 02, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, September 26, 2010

It rains all night tap, tap, tapping on the metal roof and gurgling down the downpipes. Dark and sleepy morning.  Up at the crack of noon, we wake to an overcast day. We decide to take the Roaring Fork "Auto Tour".  First stop is Noah "Bud" Ogle self guiding nature trail.  It introduces us to an authentic mountain farmstead and the surrounding hardwood forest.  First, we go up the stream on this extensive nature trail.  Notice the handcrafted wooden flume entering the streamside “tubemill” and the shorter doorways.  Like many farms located on streams, the Ogles had a small grist mill for grinding corn into cornmeal. Neighbors sometimes used the mill in exchange for a one gallon per bushel toll. Widows and other "unfortunates" had their corn ground for free

Up the rocky slopes and across the small stream, we arrive at the barn.  Then head downhill to the two farm homes on the property.

Oh no!  The Roaring Fork road is closed for construction until October 2!  New Plan!  Next stop, the main park entrance and Sugarlands Visitor Center where a park ranger confirms that Laurel Falls is running strong thanks to the recent rains and that the paved path to the falls is a good choice today since the other falls paths are a bit muddy.  He encourages us to continue up the unpaved path past the falls to view some old growth trees. 

As we drive up Little River Road towards Laurel Falls, we are reminded once again about the connection between mist, smoke and mountains ending in a short 1.6 mile hike to Falls.  Like the hat? 

Moving pasts the falls the crowds disappear, the trail is no longer paved, becoming rocky and rough.  The trail ascends gradually in a couple of switchbacks through rhododendron and laurel and then enters a forest of giant tulip poplar and hemlock.  Casey likes the old growth forest trees and apologies on behalf of the entire human race.  We are reminded that this place gets an average of 55 inches of rain a year.  Today – liquid sunshine abounds. 

Back to the cabin for a lovely sunset.
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