The "trail" to Ranger Falls. Once again, the rangers tell me "you can't get to Ranger Falls". "Oh, I'll get there" is what I said, thinking I've been there when the water was high before, and this would be no different. I even brought water shoes and wetsocks, knowing the flow would be up due to the season. Yeah. I followed Big Creek upstream until the far bank was impassable, and never came close to crossing. The place I crossed on rocks that were ankle deep or so under water before...couldn't tell where they were, and I wasn't going swimming at 30 degrees.
The fruitless search continues. One cool thing that came of this was that I followed the creek bank all the way to where Big Creek Gulf Trail heads up to Alum Gap, only climbing up when it was impossible to continue along the bank, and only returning to the trail briefly once. So I go to see a lot of Big Creek that is normally missed from the trail. And Big Creek is beautiful...
The sink where Big Creek goes underground in drier times. There's some whirlpool action, I assume a result of the sink, and a backflow like a long eddy toward the near bank.
The seasonal fall across the way was flowing well, too:
The creek has more volume and power above the sink.
I filtered water from it just to see how it tasted, and there was nothing special about it, no matter how pretty it was. It's all the same in hot chocolate, anyway!
Did you ask me about that when I posted pics of that fall before? Someone did. I remembered, and took a few pics to help show how to get to it. I'm not busy this morning, and will upload them in a bit.
When you leave Greeter Falls going to Boardtree Falls, you will pass under a cliffline with big overhangs. Shortly afterwards there will be a section where there was apparently a landslide at some point in time. It will not have a lot of undergrowth, and you will be walking across the small "boulder field" that resulted. Right after that, the trail will be wooded, and close on both sides-then you have gone too far.
Following the slide down, there is a lot of earth and leaves loosely packed between the rocks, and you will need trekking poles to check before putting your foot down, since the rocks shift and have gaps you could step into between them.
The trail is up near the top of this pic. You may be able to follow its line if you look closely.
Looking down from the same spot, you will see that there is a steep dropoff below.
When you get to the dropoff you will find that there are places to climb down. Watch your footing, use your poles, etc. Lots of leaves over soft earth so it's easy to slide.
You should be able to see the falls to your left. It's steeper if you go toward the falls, though, so it's better to climb down, then go upstream.
This is where I climbed down.
I'm sure you've noticed that the water at Greeter Falls and Boardtree Falls flows in opposite directions. To your right will be the convergence of their flows.
And to your left
Shortly after leaving Greeter Falls, there is a trail with a closed sign. I *think* it goes down to that convergence, but haven't tried it. If so, that would be the easiest way, because you could then just follow the creek up to the falls from there.
Yes, and it's only a few minutes walk, too. Think last time I said my last pic from the unnamed fall and first pic from Boardtree were 9 minutes apart, and it takes a few minutes to climb out of that ravine, so it can't be very far.
They're beautiful, but there isn't as much hiking to do on this side. This is the third time I've done the Stone Door side as a dayhike(twice with backpacking gear, intending to overnight-it's just too short!), but I made a 2 night trip of Savage Day Loop/North Rim/Connector/Collins Gulf/Collins Rim/South Rim last year and loved it. I may go back up there next week, and do that very loop. They're calling for snow, teens and a high of 31 next Tuesday and Wednesday, which sounds pretty glorious to me. 'Course there was supposed to be snow this week...grrrr. I love Suter Falls with some ice, though!
we went to Greeter Falls yesterday and all of the falls were flowing. I tried to find the area you went down but never could figure out which area it was in. Seems to be a few places where there was a slide. If I thought i was at the area I would go down then hold the pic up to see if it looked like it. I also went down the trail that was closed. You could go a little ways before you ran into a big blow down. I could have made it around but the gf was a little unsure of us going down it even though it didn't bother her to go off trail if we found that section. We will head back and look again. A picture from the trail may help find the spot
I went down to it last Thursday, the 27th. Tried the closed trail, but it loops back around toward lower Greeter Falls, so we followed it to where there's a crack you go through that we played at, then went straight down into the gorge and followed the water(which is all you have to do from any point).
btw, there's pics of what the trail looks like in those showing the rock slide that it crosses above. The fall is almost in sight downstream when you're at Boardtree, it's so close.
Here's a video from the convergence that I made Thursday:
Some pics of Savage Falls(we did the Savage Day loop first), Upper and Lower Greeter, the unnamed falls, and Boardtree, too, while I'm at it:
yeah, Savage Gulf's a pretty popular backpacking spot. Sawmill get's a lot of use because it's the only centrally located site. Hobbs Cabin gets a lot of use because of the cabin. and Alum Gap gets a lot of use because it's near Stone Door and Greeter Falls.
on the bright side, most of the Sawmill sites are well pretty spread out, so as long as you get there early and are able to get a permit it's still a nice place to stay. that's assuming you have courteous neighbors of course... i've had a few bad experiences with young boy scouts who haven't been taught proper backcountry etiquette... as well as a few manner-less adult groups.
I've generally had good luck with neighbors at Sawmill when it was crowded---usually groups of two or three. A large group of scouts did pass through the bottom (but didn't stop) while I was there over Easter. My luck with having courteous neighbors hasn't been good at Hobbs or Alum Gap.
-------------- Looking out the window The trees are getting closer, it seems
IMO the best time to go to Savage Gulf is during the weekdays. Not sure where you live but look into going to Big South Fork. You will see dayhikers but not to many backpackers. You do have to get a permit to camp but it is only $ 5.00 total for up to 6 people.
These guys would certainly know better than me. I've only been on weekdays, and "bad"(colder the better for me, though I'm not so high on rain) weather has been typical of my trips there, so I haven't seen very many people, regardless of season.
I did stone door to alum gap on my very first outing in February and it was great. Only seen a handful of others. Live in Murfreesboro so I'm going to have to drive at least an hour to get anywhere. Big South fork looks good too.
On another point, I've only been on a couple overnighters but so far the folks I've meet are really nice and friendly. What a wonderful community of good people! Should've started doing this a long time ago...
My experience has been that it's very spotty at Savage Gulf. A few weeks ago, I did an out and back on Collins West. I had a very weak signal (Verizon) at Collins Gulf TH. I had no service at Sawmill Camp. I didn't turn phone on between TH and campsite.
-------------- Looking out the window The trees are getting closer, it seems