After a day to recoup from the Clingman’s Dome disappointment and the migraine headache, a day spent walking slowly in Gatlinburg on a weekday, a wonderfully empty and quiet weekday, we had our last hike planned. Those same clouds were pouring over the mountain, after a night I had spent with my eyes on the radar as the Tornadoes that had womped on Alabama came into our area. The closest tore into Newport, TN, about 21 miles north. We just got a bunch of wind. Shook our Pop-up quite a bit.
So on that day, we joined our neighbour who was taking his kid as well and we went up to go see Grotto Falls. This would turn out to be our most enjoyable hike of the trip. First of all, the hike is short, only about 1.1 miles up to the falls, with only about 500 feet of elevation gained. So while it was uphill, it was a gentle uphill.
The trail can be reached by taking the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a one way road into the mountains that link up with a bunch of trails and also offer a view into the homes and farms of the people that used to live in the mountains.
The hike itself up was windy and it threatened to rain multiple times. This time, we were prepared, good gear, warm clothes, our rain gear all ready on. The kids loved it. The boots were muddied and wet on this trail and we laughed it off as this was the last time wed be hiking. There were some people on the trail and we did notice evidence of the Llamas that are used to haul up supplies to Mt Leconte.
We reached Grotto Falls and immediately fell in love. The falls are very small, compared to other falls in the park, but they are delightful. The trail continues under the waterfalls as they fall into a nice small pool. The trail then continues up on its way up to Mt Leconte. In the meantime, the sky opened up and rained a bit, and then the sun came out. And with the sun came the life. The salamanders popped out from their rocks and laid wonderfully still for me to take their pictures. All sorts of bugs, pictured here, came out for their cameo on the Flunker Cam.
There is something magical about being able to walk behind a waterfall. I have added a video to see it, its really just a small little fall, but still, the magic is there.
Our trip down was pleasant, the sun full out and the bugs and birds all out enjoying the warmth.
On the way out of the motor trail, we stopped at a few of the farm houses. My first thought was, I could have built a better home than this. My second thought was, no, no I couldn’t.