We started out at South Cumberland at the VC to pick up Chan's headlamp. It wasn't there!
So we headed out to Greeter Falls, where we just were last week, and took the side trail to Blue Hole to check it out. It's a nice swimming hole, I bet after a good rain it will be even better.
It's a super easy .5 mile each way trail. Lots of families with younger kids down there, yay!
Ben wanted to hike and climb around on rocks and maybe swim. So we headed toward Rock Island State Park, about an hour away.
We pulled off at a TWRA canoe put-in/takeout point on a tiny side road and waded around for half an hour.
I was attacked by tadpole/crawdad critters, but they refused to come back out once I got Matt over to ID them. They looked like tiny horseshoe crabs! I was too busy screaming to get a shot of them.
We have since ID'd them as tadpole shrimp!!
I used to do creek wades to educate people on what makes a creek safe to get in.
I will do a quickie here. If there are leeches or mosquito larvae, don't go in it. Of course look for glass and sharp rocks. Clear, moving water is always better for wading than still water or water filled with tannic acid (basically tea-colored from fallen leaves)
Crawdads, dragonfly, small fish, darters and snails all indicate good water. Caddisfly larvae, which look like little rock cairns, indicate the cleanest water of all.
the creek was metaled, I love that shiny stuff!
Loads of little fossils!
This is awesome!
Canoe path down
We headed back out, stopped to get a cache. Matt lost his sunglasses and is squinting at me, he swears he's not glaring. I really can't tell the difference.
At Rock Island, there were 1.6 million people at the falls, so we went on down to the swim beach to poke around. We have not been there when it was warm out!
I am doing the Vulcan thing, which is actually Jewish and I worry at times I am pissing off a higher power. Then I realize symbols are only what you believe them to be.
Ah, the long long legs I always wanted!
We saw zero snakes, so make do with this stick sighting.
This was pretty awesome, it's a fire pit to go with the picnic pavilion!
We headed back toward the falls and it had cleared out considerably.
So we walked down to play on the rocks!
There's a dammed lake that wraps around Rock Island, so we were in a canyon below the dam itself, but the higher lake parallels the canyon. If that makes sense. So the water from the lake pushes through the rock in several places making unusual waterfalls for our area. They don't tumble over a precipice from a stream, they fall out from weaker rock somewhere in the face of the canyon wall.
The steps down are also a waterfall!
Lots of rocks, I was so sweaty and hot from climbing around that my glasses kept fogging over.
We played around until sunset and headed back up. The gates close at 7:30, so it was good timing.