Morning hike to Margarette Falls

Today started off on the perfect note . . . yep both Jason and I had a day off together. We hit the road early with our puppy, Lucy, in tow, and traveled to our perfect getaway, nature.

IMG_1906Today’s journey took us near Greeneville, Tennessee, to Margarette Falls, a 60-foot waterfall. The parking area was located off of Shelton Mission Road between Old Mountain Road and Peavine Way.

It’s been a while since we found a new waterfall. The past few months, when we had the opportunity to escape, we have gone back to some of our favorites, Jones Falls and Laurel Falls.

IMG_1905The path was absolutely stunning. Lush green vegetation of all sizes lined the path, as well as clusters of white and pink rhododendron flowers.

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IMG_1916The trail at many parts was rather rocky, some of which led to rocks that acted as steps, as we made our way up the trail. According to an app on my phone, we traveled from an elevation of 1,875 feet to 2,551 feet during our two and a half hour hike.

There is no better escape than going out into nature and fully experiencing the pure beauty that surrounds us. As soon as we stepped out of the car and I breathed in that wonderful scent, everything evaporated. Nature is my stress reliever, my piece of mind, my time where I become centered once again.

The best part about our adventures outdoors is taking Lucy along with us. I love how excited she becomes when she enters the outdoors. I have a new kind of appreciation when I experience things through my puppy.

Lucy is becoming braver, which gets me excited. Every detour Jason takes off the path, Lucy is right there at his heels eager to experience his adventure. Today she even took a dive into the water, accidentally of course, but it brought the biggest smile to my face. She’s always so careful to jump from rock to rock as we cross creeks, so she doesn’t get wet.

There was a certain point in West Fork Dry Creek, which of course we took a detour to, that had rocks separated a little further apart. My sweet little Lucy gave it her best effort jumping from one rock to another when she dove straight into the creek. Just as fast as she landed in the water she was already jumping to the next rock, her dry land.

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One of the many thing I enjoy about our hikes is hearing the water rushing down the incredible rock formations in the creek. The sound of water is so incredibly calming.

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Whenever there is an open space on the trail, we always head closer to it to see how the water is running through yet another incredible rock formation.

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It’s funny, Lucy is starting to understand this love of ours. She too stops at the opening waiting to see if that is where our temporary exit will be before continuing on the path.

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All in all the trail really was not that bad. With that said, it was much easier on our way back because everywhere we had to climb up hill we were now going down with ease.

This waterfall that we saw today was stunning. Oh, and the sound, wow, incredible.

IMG_1859Today it was one of the warmest days we have had this summer, it hit the 90’s, so my feet went into the water every chance we had. That’s the beauty of the hiking shoes I bought us last year, Merrell, they are so light weight and have an incredible grip once in the water. The only bad thing about these shoes is you tend to feel every rock you step on, which today was a good portion of the hike.

IMG_1898So far when we get to the bottom of the waterfall, we take Lucy’s leash off and let her sniff around and have her own kind of puppy fun. The good thing about this is we are usually the only ones enjoying the view, so we aren’t bothering anyone else.

IMG_1873She absolutely loves sticks . . . today she found some good-sized ones.

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I wouldn’t let her follow Jason this time around, so she stood patiently watching him climb the rocks to the left and right of the waterfall.

IMG_1895Although I love the hiking we do to get to our destination, my favorite part is arriving at the waterfall and finding a rock to sit on and enjoy the view and sounds.

IMG_1870I absolutely love the area that we call home. Tennessee is such a beautiful state.

The highlight of our 2.95-mile hike today was on our way back to the car. We decided to stop near the creek and sit on rocks. As I sat down a butterfly appeared and flew around my legs, which of course captured Lucy’s attention. The next thing that happened blew me away.

IMG_1912It landed on my sock.

IMG_1913The butterfly would land, take off, and fly around my legs, and then land again. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was incredible. It was my favorite experience of the day.

Another day I will always remember, our adventure to Margarette Falls.

Our hiking adventures are by far the best “dates” we go on . . .

 

Phenomenal hike: Jones Falls and Elk Falls

I have experienced cabin fever this winter for the first time in my adult life. With temperatures sometimes as low as the single digits, Jason and I spent a lot of time indoors. This winter was definitely a change from what I’m used to as A Florida girl.

The last true hike we took was in September. That seems like forever ago, especially when we were used to going out at least once a week.

With Jason having the day off and the temperatures rising to the high 50’s, we laced up our shoes, put on a few layers and packed a few more and went for a drive. That drive took us to North Carolina.

IMG_1154As soon as Jason parked the car, I got out and walked towards the water. The sky was blue with a chill in the air. The sound of rushing water instantly grabbed a hold of me and reminded me why we decided to move to NE Tennessee. It had definitely been too long since we heard that sound.

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This is the beginning of Elk Falls in North Carolina. The parking lot sits alongside the water, which eventually turns into Elk Falls.

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IMG_1158Instead of heading straight towards Elk Falls, we decided to hit the trails and hike towards Jones Falls.

In order to get to Jones Falls, we had to walk  behind a gate in the parking lot area. This trail opens rather wide for a while and at times becomes hilly.

IMG_1159Once we started walking along the path, I remembered why I loved the hike to Jones Falls so much.

About a half a mile later, the trail opened to a river. We continued walking along the river on a narrow trail that was quite muddy in some places today.

The views, the sounds, what more could you ask for.

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IMG_1217We eventually caught up with the Appalachian Trail, which is marked by white blazes on the tree.

IMG_1172I love this hike because you start hiking in North Carolina and end up in Tennessee. We crossed the state line by foot.

IMG_1207When we saw the blue blazes, we knew we had to take that trail to get to Jones Falls.

I loved walking the trail. There was so much green everywhere, something we haven’t been used to since winter came. We even saw trees starting to blossom, which I have to admit made me smile.

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IMG_1222We started to hear Jones Falls and eventually saw it from a distance. It looked like there was ice, but we weren’t sure until we got closer to it . . .

I think both of our jaws dropped as Jones Falls came into sight. Wow, also left our lips. We couldn’t believe all the ice and snow  . . . a wish definitely came true today. Jason and I have been wanting to hike to a waterfall since winter hit, but don’t really have the proper winter gear. We wanted to experience the frozen waterfalls in person . . .

IMG_1176So when we saw this it was a nice surprise.

IMG_1180The temperature dropped quite a bit as we came closer to Jones Falls. It was nice at first because we were both warm from the hike to the waterfall.

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IMG_1188As I was mesmerized by the view, listening to the incredible sound, Jason found a trail that went up towards the top of the waterfall. Yep, I of course went up to join him. Well, he came back down to help guide me. It was steep in some places and slippery. Jason of course helped me.

The site was even better than below. The temperatures were even colder than below. With that said, it was worth the hike up.

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There was a break in some of the ice and you could see the water running below.

IMG_1205After our bodies had enough of the cold, we headed back down the trail to grab our backpack and headed back. Jason packed us some sandwiches, which we stopped and ate where the sun was shinning, so we could soak up the warmth.

Before we starting walking again, I gave Jason a kiss. I was outdoors with the man I love. I was beyond happy . . .

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Of course on our way back we headed off the trail and found a new place to play.

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Some things just don’t change, I found a rock and sat down and took in the sound. Jason, on the other hand, found some rocks that he could skip in the water.

Now back in North Carolina we headed towards Elk Falls. As you hike down the path, there is a place where you can walk out on the rocks and view the waterfall from the top. This is always a great place to see a waterfall. The rushing water is powerful at this view.

Jason walked out closer to the edge and sat down for a while right over the waterfall.

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By the time we made it to Elk Falls it was getting colder, so we didn’t stay for long. Last time we stopped here there were a ton of people swimming in the water and sun bathing on the rocks. This time we had the view all to ourselves.

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My mind instantly went to a different place as I sat and watched the water hitting the pool of water below.

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IMG_1253Today was absolutely perfect. A perfect day with Jason. Really, I could not ask for anything more. We were both in our element once again.

IMG_1237My mind is completely clear and the stress was left along the trail.

Fresh air, the sounds of nature and your best friend by your side does wonders. It felt good to smile all day long. It felt good to be outdoors for a few hours today.