Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fiery Gizzard In The Snow...Again!

Last February our group enjoyed a winter wonderland in the Fiery Gizzard and, today, 15 of us enjoyed it again. The parking lot was still covered as we maneuvered sheets of ice on the way to the trail head, but soon we were headed across the bridge and around the ridge with white woods on either side. At first, wet leaves were our path through the snow. Then, our boots pushed snow into hard packs as we turned and descended down to Big Fiery Gizzard Creek where the black water fell into an emerald pool. The deep woods revealed tree boughs laden with soft white snow in the gorge and icicle sheets hung in huge curtains all along the creek.
At the junction of Little and Big Fiery Gizzard Creek the water melded to a rushing tide that pushed into the gorge. By the time we reached Chimney Rocks, we were slippin' and sliding' a bit, but with one sure foot in front of the other, we made it the bridge that took us across the black water. Once across, we turned right and hiked along the creek with gorgeous water views and more icy sheets until we turned left and climbed toward Sycamore Falls. The Falls formed a glistening wall on the other side of the creek. We paused for a short break here with some snow ball fun and picture taking. 

On the way back from Sycamore Falls, we turned down along the creek and hiked a short distance up to the bluff. From here, many took off up the trail that followed past a slippery slope and then under an overhanging ledge with a threateningly long icicle hanging down.
Raven's Point was the goal and most made it only to turn around and backtrack to the sign to Sycamore Falls. Soon, we were headed back to the bridge where we turned right and followed the creek for a good distance. We carefully made our way up and over icy snow- packed boulders and before you know it, we were at the bridge overlooking the gorgeous pool of water at the bottom of the falls.

We made it safely back to the parking lot in spite of the icy conditions and from the overheard comments, everyone had a great time with 4+ miles of hiking! It was 1:30pm by the time we got to Sewanee to eat lunch at an Italian restaurant which, I think, everyone enjoyed. Another fantastic hike for the Wednesday group!