From this point, we turned left to wind along the edge of the bluff with the cold wind buffetting against us for a short distance before the trail began to descend. Our boots had to trudge through some muddy spots, but as we dropped further it seemed to dry out a bit and soon we spotted what we came for: wildflowers!
The trail wound further along the ridge, almost always with a downward grade. Those spots where our boots went up, John made sure to point out so that we could appreciate it all the more on the way out! Finally, we arrived near the bottom of the gorge and found ourselves by the creek. The woods reflected this nourishment with an influx of green in our surroundings.
As we passed through, there were ooh's and aah's aplenty! Across the creek, the woods were carpeted with bluebells...the stuff of dreams (the Chronicler actually had a dream about an area like this once...and here I found it!).
On an easy path, we travelled by the creek and soon passed the sign that marks the Walls of Jericho trail from the shorter, but more steeper trail that was used last year. Then, in no time we were at the log crossing with the nifty board rail.
Beyond this point, we came to the creek crossing where the log was too precarious so we rock hopped and made it to the other side. J.D. elected to stop at the picturesque old cemetery to have her lunch in quiet as the rest of the group began to climb the ridge. We missed the gorgeous white blooms from last year, but their greenery still dotted the gorge along the creek.
The trail finally angled back to the creek we were following and it was the individual hiker's decision how to get across. Some had plastic, others had water shoes, and still others just slogged in and got across to the bank where we climbed over to the limestone rock area by the falls. Here we settled down for lunch. After a quick bite, the Chronicler (with instructions from Bill) found a foothold and got up the rocky ledge to the waterfalls beyond. She was followed by Diane who truly enjoyed her first look at this unique spot, and also John and Susan.
We reluctantly left our lunch spot in this amazing limestone gorge, got back across the creek, and began our ascent around the ridge. Back across the log bridge, we all garnered our strength for that climb out. Whether it was a personal mantra as Trish does or just one lead foot in front of the other, we all made it out of the gorge. The last few got caught in the downpour as it finally hit! Sue thanked good girl scouts, J.D. and Jenny for their assistance, but she, too, got back to the trailhead. There was some discussion on whether this was the better of the two ascents, but either way, there is a difficult climb to overcome.
Here are a few more pic's:
|Trillums dotted this huge rock|
|Redbud colored the ridge on our descent|