We have three more hikes to share while we were in Sapphire, NC. The first two, in our last post, were the most spectacular! But the other three were still great hikes, very challenging and encouraging to me, Debbie.
I mention my knees issues every once in a while. I am so grateful I can still hike! I was told in 2004, I’d need a partial knee replacement in five years. Never happened. I found a different doctor who prescribed a better regimen but I was also told to avoid stairs. So I do as much as possible. I have had two meniscus repairs on each knee. My last X-rays were very encouraging, no knee replacements in either in my future. Can I shout, Praise the Lord!!! It really is miraculous because I did abuse my knees with long distance running in the beautiful city of Philadelphia, but on the sidewalks. My mom warned me I would wear out my knees. I was a bit disrepectful and said God created them to run so I’ll be OK. Needless to say, mom was right! I have to use caution with any activities. I can’t walk fast let alone run, but I can take slow walks on hard packed dirt or sand and I can HIKE! There is something about being in and around God’s creation that brings me much peace and joy!
9/13/2022 Windy Hills Fall hike – attempted but failed.
Our first hike in the Gorges State Park was more or less a failure. We thought we were hiking to another beautiful waterfall, called Windy Falls. There are pictures of it in the All Trails App but it was impossible for us to hike to see it using the app and designated trail. There is a glitch of some sort. However, we still had a great time and learned we should not climb over road closure arm. We entered Toxaway Game Land. It wasn’t marked. We were told Gorges State Park was NC’s newest campground so perhaps that was why there wasn’t better signage.
Let me back up. I should start at the beginning of our day. Using All Trails App, we looked for great hikes closer to us. Gorges State Park was only about 15-20 minute drive. We had plans to at least hike 6 if not more miles. Normally, we stop in Visitor Centers, especially when it is so convenient to the trail head. We decided we wanted to hit the trail and, after all, the All Trails App had the trail map and a great review to Windy Hill Fall trail then on to the Rainbow Falls. Follow our hike in the slide show, below. It looked well marked in the beginning. But as noted above, we hit a glitch;
After the fact, we realized we could have had a disaster as we descended. I couldn’t take pictures and use my poles most of the way from the barricade to the end of the trail. It was narrow, lots of roots and rocks. The review warned us of this so we were not concerned. But by the time we could go no further, we realized we made a mistake. In the Visitor Center, we later learned we had entered Toxaway Game Land. There were no warning signs, but maybe a barricade was a clue we weren’t entering a viable State Park trail. While we wanted to hike more miles, we encountered another couple that let us know, we needed to call it a day.
9/14/2022 Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back Falls
As mentioned above, had intentions of ALSO hiking to Rainbow Falls the day before. To get to the Rainbow Falls, there is a steep descent – so one must be prepared to climb back up and out. We literally bumped into a really nice couple in the parking lot, then ended up hiking the entire trail with them. They were maybe 15 years younger but were novice hikers. Perhaps they thought we might need help since we had hiking poles. We thought they might need help since we’re so “experienced.” We were tipped off the day before, it is a tough trail. We did fine. We actually were forced to go slow because there were a lot of other hikers. What they learned from us was to get hiking poles!
Follow our hike in this slide show. To read the captions, click on the first image then view as a slide show:
This trail was challenging for those not used to hiking. Unless one reads the description of it at the trail head, they may not realize the challenges. The day before, we met a couple who just finished the hike. We had gone nearly four miles challenging miles, they said this one was also challenging in the descent then ascent.
While we waited to get our pictures taken, we talked to an “urban” couple. They wanted to experience a lot of fresh air on their vacation. They had no idea what they were in for, but in their determination, they made it to the Falls. However, it was slippery and the woman lost her footing and slide down. Fortunately, the fence caught her! It was a heart stopping moment. Thankfully, she was not injured. We met up with them on our way back to the car. The were sitting on a bench about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. They were catching their breath. They had not carried water but had some in their car. They needed a drink so we offered to go get it. They thanked us and said they learned some valuable lessons if they ever decide to take a “hike!”
Stay tuned for our final hike to Salt Rock Gap trails. It’s been nearly two months since we were here. Writing this up has helped us to book another trip here – in the Spring.
My final thoughts as I finish this post:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him!”Psalms 28:7