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Topic: A few pics from Virgin Falls State Natural Area< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:31 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Inspired by markweth's Jan. 24 thread, I had been planning a longer trip for the near future that would include a side trip to Rock Island State Park to view the waterfalls there. When the opportunity arose this week due to some other plans falling through, I jumped on the chance for a quick overnighter, though. I was not aware of the Polly Branch trailhead or the trails and waterfalls there, or of the caves-particularly Virgin Falls cave, which I didn't find out any details about until after I'd returned home.
So there will be another trip...

This one was extremely satisfying, though. What a wonderful amount of scenery is packed into those four miles of the Virgin Falls trail!
Here are a few pics from my "weekend":















Big Laurel Falls, which I will revisit the next morning trying to get better pics:


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First glimpse of Sheep Cave Falls:


The top section just below the cave.


Here I is! A little size perspective.


As you may be able to tell from the first pic, this fall is multi-tiered.




There is some access from the hollow across the way, but I chose a more direct route from where I already was that was a little more "involved"...




Further down is another cave. I did not explore this. Very muddy, very steep, and very slippery in that depression.


Back on the trail.
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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And what, pray tell, is this up ahead?


Virgin Falls, that's what! The grand finale :)




Setup was a little cockeyed, but I do like sleeping to the sound of rushing water...


Returned to Big Laurel Falls Thursday morning on the way out. Hopefully this pic is a little better, but I was still struggling with the light even before the sun rose.


Couple more pics from on the way out:


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

nice... looks like you had good flow. the falls at Sheep Cave is usually just a trickle.

a few years back, at Sheep Cave, my wife and i just happened to be there at the moment when a mature tree perched on the high rim (opposite from the trail side) of that sink hole snapped at the roots and tore to shreds as it tumbled 100ft (or however deep that hole is). several minutes later --heart still thumping-- there was still debris floating around in the air... if we'd arrived just a few minutes earlier the story mightn't have had a happy ending.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2013, 9:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ashepabst @ Mar. 01 2013, 12:44 pm)
QUOTE
a few years back, at Sheep Cave, my wife and i just happened to be there at the moment when a mature tree perched on the high rim (opposite from the trail side) of that sink hole snapped at the roots and tore to shreds as it tumbled 100ft (or however deep that hole is). several minutes later --heart still thumping-- there was still debris floating around in the air... if we'd arrived just a few minutes earlier the story mightn't have had a happy ending.

There's several tree trunks in that hole!
The week before at Savage Gulf, on both the North and South Rim trails, it was windy, and there were trees already down, but it was the ones leaning in the wind, and the creaking sounds I was surrounded by that kind of worried me a time or two.
I found, and took a pic of, a limb that had come down and shattered, but the stump of that limb, which was about 5" across, and a couple of feet long remained. It was sticking up out of the ground with one end still buried straight down in the packed earth-right in the middle of the trail.
They say timing is everything...:)
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 12:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome pictures . . . .looks like it was a great time to visit.

Those pictures of Sheep Cave Falls are especially stunning, and it looks like Virgin Falls was roaring.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 10:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, Mark. The pics from your dayhike made that happen..and I found another reason to be in love with the Cumberland Plateau.
Taking a 4 day weekend this week that starts tomorrow, and will be headed north again.
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ashepabst Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 1:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

jealous!  where ya headin, Owen?

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 1:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That looks like a really nice area, but I have one question.  Where is it?  There are two Rock Island State Parks, one in Wisconsin and one in Tennessee.

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But a trail is a song."

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"Songs on Winding Trails"
in Chasers of the Sun
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 4:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm sure he's referring to Rock Island State Park in middle Tennessee. Some very interesting water features created by a dam there, including large waterfalls coming out the side of a bluff due to the reservoir behind the ridge. Upstream are waterfalls & cascades with some fun scrambling around on the sedimentary rock layers. But I don't think any of those pics are from Rock Island.

If you're in the area be sure to also check out Burgess Falls, which is IMO among the most awesome falls in the southeast. In less than a mile you pass a nice cascade and two other good size waterfalls en route to the main attraction. Good views from the top, and a steep trail heads down to the base where the main falls tower above you.

Virgin Falls (where the pics are from) I rate among the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen. The size, the setting, the fact that it flows out of one cave & plunges into another, and the other waterfalls & scenery along the 4 mile hike should put Virgin Falls on the bucket list of anyone who hikes in the Southeast.


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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 5:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, Rock Island SP, in TN, I'd hoped to combine with another trip, and still will. It doesn't have much in the way of trails, distance-wise, but pics of the waterfalls I saw online looked pretty great.




(ashepabst @ Mar. 04 2013, 12:18 pm)
QUOTE
jealous!  where ya headin, Owen?

I'm not sure! Gotta make up my mind between going back up to Big South Fork or more in the same area, like Fall Creek Falls, or some other stuff I've thought about. Sometimes I change plans even after I'm in the car...
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