Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Discovering the Beauty of Lula Lake

 95+ temperatures couldn't keep the 19 hikers away from the trail at Lula Lake on Wednesday, July 28th. Does that make us crazy or fanatic's? There's a fine line there to diiscern! We met at the Bi-lo in St. Elmo and took off up Lookout Mountain in total denial of the heat and total excitement over the chance to hike the trail on the privately held Trust property. Many in attendance, including the trail chronicler, had never been to the site.
Upon arrival, it took a few minutes for Che to get instructions from a Trust volunteer and then we were off. We took off across a very nice foot bridge and turned off to the right, heading into the woods on a nice path with sun-dappled light. We were soon following along the creek, always a treat on a hot day, and then looped back to the main trail. For the next half mile or so, we treked on a path that led us up and down a wide trail. Then we found ourselves on the main trail that led to the top of the brow and we began to climb at an easy pace. The heat was steadily rising so we took it at a languid stroll more than a fast climb. Reaching the intersection of the trail, Che pointed a few of us to the left and waited for the others. When we were all reunited, we walked on with peeks of the brow views tantalizing us off to the right. Finally, we came to a gorgeous open brow with spectacular views of the valley in the Flintstone area. We gawked a while and then continued down the path looking for a short trail Che had been directed to called the High Adventure Trail.

As we began to descend, Che feared she had missed the trail and when we came in sight of Lula Gorge, it was confirmed. However, she directed us away from the picnic tables and down to the right where we found a rocky path that led us down to the bottom of Lula Lake Falls. Many of us navigated our way down and came in sight of the gorgeous falls. J.D. a/k/a water bug was in the water before you could say otter. We slower ones mosied over to the rock ledge in front of the falls where could enjoy the spray. A few, including Gary, Val, Trish, and Stormy went on up to explore the falls closer. The trail chronicler, Arlene, Linda, and Larry took our socks and boots off to stick our feet in some water traveling thru the rocks. We all began to eat our lunch and then heard shouting from above. We didn't have a clue what they were trying to say so we ate lunch before we headed up the rough trail back to the main path. There we discovered some good scouts (Pete, joined by JD and Bob, we thought) had made sure to 'mark the path' for us Lula Falls explorers.
We trekked back to the picnic table area and then discovered Lula Lake (where Che meant for us to eat lunch!). Che, Bob, Pete, and several others were there eating lunch in an idylic spot. We all enjoyed some time relaxing here. Then Che discussed the trail we had missed and the group was agreeable (okay, it was really Patti:-)) to going back to see if we could discover it. Sure enough, a short distance past where you go down to the Falls, there is a turn-off to to the right. It appeared to just go off into the woods, but suddenly we found ourselves climbing on a narrow trail, rocky and pretty rough. Climb, climb, we did and someone behind yelled they expected a ropes course. We'll guess what? We found it!

The High Adventure Trail was indeed high adventure. Fortunately, it wasn't that long and soon we were the brow again. After we regrouped, we headed back down the main trail and in no time our descent brought us back to the Lake. We turned left and traveled across the bridge and maybe a quarter of a mile down a beautiful path, we were back at the cars.
It was six miles of gorgeous trail. What more can a hiker ask for? We enjoyed a bit of forest, an easy climb, enjoyed scenic views, sat by a waterfall, lolled by the lake, and climbed a steep trail with a rope. One of the best, maybe short, but definitely sweet.

The mysterious, and as yet, unidentified flower...any guesses??

UPDATE:  I found out it is a Spider Lily!