Friday, January 2, 2015

Chinnabee Silent Trail

The trail is named for the Boy Scout Troup 29 from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, who, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, built the trail.

On the first, Matt and I headed out to Cheaha to meet Melanie and her family for a hike to Cheaha Falls from the Turnipseed Camp parking lot on 281.
The trail is 12 miles RT end to end and back from Lake Chinnabee parking lot to the junction of the trail and the Pinhoti.  Starting at 281 cuts the last 2 miles off the hike and makes it an 8 mile hike from 281 to Lake Chinnabee and back.  We turned back at Devil's Den Falls because it was close to dark making it a 7 mile hike. You can easily add on the 2 miles by continuing to Lake Chinnabee and walking around the lake on the Lake Trail Loop if time allows.
Lake Chinnabee is closed from November 15 to March 15, though you can park at the gate and walk in the 2 miles from there.
Camping is allowed along the trail all year, though in deer hunting season you need a free permit.
(October 15-Jan 31)

We hit the trail by 11 and walked the half-mile or so to the falls.
It's a lovely and very easy hike and the falls are located in a wide-open woods (trees, no underbrush!) and at the top of the falls is a camping site and if you follow the creek back, there's another site around the bend.

The creek is rock bottomed and perfect for wading!

The trail is supposed to be blue blazed, we only saw one very light blue blaze and one white blaze that may have been blue.  This is no issue anywhere other than leaving the shelter because there are 3 trails that meet there.  The correct one is (facing the shelter) the narrow track that winds off to the left.

The trail to the falls is easy walking!  The entire trail is labeled moderate to difficult, but the difficult stretch (due to climb in elevation) is the part we cut off.

That looks like a swimming hole to me!!

This is Ranger, Melanie's dog.  He is super sweet!  We had some love love time at the falls and I got to rub on his silky puppy fur.  So therapeutic.

We wandered down below the falls, then climbed the HUGE hill to get back to the trail at the shelter.  I thought I was going to be sick at the top, I am in HORRIBLE shape.  There is an actual trail that we failed to take from the top of the falls.  Coming back was easy.

After lunch at the shelter, we packed up and decided to keep going to Devil's Den Falls at the lower end of the trail.

The trail between the shelter and Devil's Den winds back along several valleys, it is similar to walking a 3 mile long W with too many u's.  A quadruple u.  hehehe.

There are several creek crossings but the step over kind.

More swimming holes!

The area has been through a burn recently, the new baby trees are popping up all over.  

The next few, I stuck my camera underwater along the creek and at the falls:

Back to Devil's Den Falls!

Melanie got a new backpacking stove and treated us to some boiling creek water for cocoa!

A lot of tornado (from early last year) and flood damage along the creek.

I have seen this creek labeled both Coldwater Creek and Cheaha Creek

Matt walked off and left me!  He's across the valley, but I still had to walk all the way around and cross the creek.  You can see Melanie's son Ben crawling up the ravine, he was not walking around.  I think he was worse off, the trail is fairly flat!

The view from the shelter!

The shelter where we had lunch.

Getting back seemed to take 15 minutes!

The area above Cheaha Falls
I think this would be a perfect hammock and read spot while the kids played in the creek and swam below the falls.

We got back to our cars AT dark, it was just after 5.
As soon as our packs were in the cargo (I never know what to call my 'trunk' as I don't have one!) it started raining! Ack.  That was close one, though we do have ponchos, I was glad not to walk out with wet legs and feet.

Below are a couple catch-up shots.  Lunch/dinner at Amanda's (we stayed all day)

Check out Jake and his 2 little magpies.  CUTE!

The above shot, I loved.  Rho with an electric guitar and Chan with her uke. hehehe.  And Owen and Elan playing Wii.  Alex was on his electric cigar box guitar (not joking) while Dae sang, Jake played with Juke and Matt was on drums.  Ben had a banjo, but did not want to play.

And the last one, Nia looking at me because Kat went in the kitchen AND sat on a chair and no one said anything.  Nia laid on her bed (a.k.a. my papasan chair!) and gave that Bad Cat the stare down punctuated by glances at me to see if I was going to get the broom. 

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.