Sunday, March 25, 2012

I had promised my niece recently that when the weather was nice enough, me and her would go on a hike together. Anytime your dealing with a child, a six year old to be exact, your hike has to be one that you feel that they would be able to do without getting hurt or being miserable getting there.

Sill Branch Falls is a short half mile hike to a beautiful 80ft falls. The trail is wide and gains very little elevation, this was perfect for Abby and I's first hike of her life! So yesterday, Abby, dad, and our dog, Cash loaded up and headed to Sill Branch which is located just off Clark's Creek Road on highway 107 near Erwin and Jonesborough. The parking area is small and with the weather being slightly overcast, I didn't expect to see three cars at the parking area. I could barely get my camera and gear out of the car before Abby was unbuckled and heading up the trail!
Abby, Cash, and me, heading up Sill Branch Trail
 Abby brought a breath of fresh air to my hiking, her youth and excitement was a welcome change from the sometimes hassle of trying to find someone willing to go with me. I was taken aback at how much she noticed, my dad noted you view the world different through innocent eyes. As we walked up the trail she pointed out different types of flowers and counted no less than six different types of butterflies. Dad trailed behind us most of the trip and Abby would stop occasionally and encourage 'papaw' to hurry up! I take long strides and hike quite often, yet Abby matched me step for step and held my hand the entire way. She said it's a shame some people hike just to do it, that there is beauty everywhere you look.
Dad and Abby resting trail side. please note Abby's wolf head hiking stick!

Abby was really excited when we arrived at the creek crossing, she loves the water, a trait I would like to think she inherited from me. She said that when it got warmer we would come back to swim but I could be a lookout for snakes. After the creek crossing, the trail has it's only real elevation gain up a steep bank, however Abby made it with ease. The trail levels high above the creek at this point and to the left side you can see several 10ft or higher cascades. Abby was impressed with these and asked "are these the falls?" I told her wait until she seen the falls we were going to that they were higher than my house! As the trail winds around a slight corner, Sill Branch becomes visible, the moment Abby could see the falls she picked her pace significantly. As we made our way to the base of the falls, there were several people there but they kindly moved out of the way so that we could take some photos.
Dad and Abby at Sill Branch Falls
This hike quickly jumped into one of my favorite's of all time. Abby is so smart and just getting to spend some time with her was a real blessing. She asked me questions about other hikes I've been on and decided that she will join me on more hikes. As we hiked out, Abby found an orange salamander that I hadn't even seen, I was able to get a good picture and she said "ok, now let's head to McDonald's!" So until next time, happy trails...
Add caption
new growth ferns
Sill Branch Falls through the trees as we were leaving.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! This is one hike that will be remembered for a lifetime. Good job Jason!