I can't wait to go back with more time. There's only one camping area on the trail now instead of two, so the halfwayish option at Raven's Point is no more. The walk into Small Wilds, 2 miles from Foster Falls, is super easy, but would make for an 11-12 mile (I am convinced the reroute is making the trail longer, it sure as heck is harder!) hike the next day with a full pack. If I started out around 7 and had until 7 before dark, I could get more pictures and have a little more recovery time at breaks.
I got tired for sure, but felt fine by the car-not ready to drop dead. The hardest stretch by far was at Anderson Falls when the trail goes off the rim and to the falls, then down and down and down to within I'd say 50 feet from the bottom of the gulf. Then it climbs back out via a series of rock steps and wooden ladder steps. I have climbed up from Anderson Falls to the rim before a few times while visiting Carl, but this is 3 or 4 times more climbing.
I had a blood sugar drop climbing out and Matt and I ended up sitting down to eat some nuts and a few dried fruit cubes and drink water for about 10 minutes. I was rummaging around my snack bag and realized I had only had about 200 calories the whole hike. I thought I had eaten much more! Fixed that.
This is the 'morning after' when the soreness is usually kicking in, but I feel fine. I have a sore spot on my foot from the boots I had on (returning those today) and that's it. The kids are not sore, Matt is a little. I wonder if tomorrow will be worse? The second day often is.
I only had half a liter of water, having left my liter bottle sitting next to the sink after I filled it up!
Ben carried loads of water for the weight, so it wasn't a huge deal, I just kept running out. So, I was refilling by here, about a mile in.
I set down my stuff, got my bottle and stepped up to get to an easy to reach spot and BAM. My new boots have much thicker sole and very grippy tread, so they snagged on the very edge of the rock I was stepping up on and there I went.
Hit my knee, elbow and palm. My knee was a little tight all day, fine this morning. Elbow still hurts, palm has a bruise. Overall, very minor but dang. A mile in!
After Small Wilds, the trail drips into Laurel Gorge for a little while before climbing out.
Chan found icicles!
Pretty cascading creek,
It was so bright, most of the pics were a wash.
Guess you'll just have to go see it for yourself!
There are two falls here, the girls are looking at the other, which I managed to not take a pic of, so...go see it!
So there's a narrow falls at the VERY top that falls about 60 feet, then another that the girls were at that drops probably 45 feet, then the one at the top of the above pic that is a totally different type of cascade and it's maybe 20 feet, then tumbles down to the bridge and beyond into the gulf.
It was so loud!! And SO pretty!
Chan is in the middle, on the far left. The trail zigzags a bit, then comes to some ladder stairs for a more serious type of climbing. At the top are more stone steps!
Another peek at the waterfalls
We walked on once we were out of the final down and up, taking the Doghole Trail, which is fairly flat and winding for about 2 and a half or so miles before dropping off all in one stretch to meet with the Fiery Gizzard Trail. At that point, it's maybe 2 miles back to the parking area.
All of my distances and waterfall heights are best guess!
Standing on the bridge at the lowest part of the Grundy Forest Day loop, this is less than a mile from the parking area.
It got NEARLY dark before we made it out. After climbing the last bit after the rock overhang, it was much lighter and we managed to not need headlamps. The kids, of course, were already out and waiting. In fact, Ben had JOGGED back from the parking area to find us, picked up the keys and jogged back out. We were a good 10 minutes longer.
Park had come through on patrol when we pulled in and again as soon as the kids were out. He told them if Matt and I didn't come up soon, to call 911. THANKS. hahahaha!
We signed in at Foster Falls at 10 and signed out at Grundy at 6:04. That was a LONG day!
And so worth it!