Bad Branch

The 2nd stop of our hiking tour took us to Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, which is located abt 10 miles SE of Whitesburg in the middle of the deep Cumberland Mtns. we originally didn't have this one on our list, but a blurb in one of my hiking books summed up the trip to BB with "Wow!". that seems like a good a place as any to hike. it has 1 hiking trail of some 7+ miles, but about a mile up the path it has an offshoot to BB waterfall, so we decided that would be our destination. after a rousing climb of Pine Mt. out of Whitesburg, we found the BB trailhead and its minimalist parking lot. the boys found a couple nice hiking sticks that had been left by other hikers and away we went. almost immediately, we learned that this would be a very nice hike. the trail followed the Bad Branch creek up the hollow, crossing bridges 2 or 3 times. because of the creek's moisture and the trees' shade, this little pocket proved cooler and more moist than the usual in the area. the rocks in the creek were moss-covered and fuzzy. over our heads was the canopy of lush forests, but more importantly tunnels of rhododendron (and maybe mountain laurel- we don't know the difference except laurel is found higher up). the trail worked its way up the valley until the sidetrail to the falls. if you follow the trail to its fullest, climbs to the top of Pine Mt. for some of the best views in the area.

the side trail crossed another small creek and then began switchbacking along the hillside. once in these switchbacks, we had to boulder and climb around a fair amount. the boys love best this type of hiking, times when they can explore and clamber and be the cubs that they are. the good wife and i, on the other hand, are feeling our age and condition enough to be more cautious and slow. we finally arrived to find the BB waterfall, which is the exact run of the creek coming down from further up Pine Mt. to our left, the fall with is cascade and fern gardens, and to our right large boulders that had fallen off the cliff side. we stayed, perhaps, 30 min and let the boys do their thing before our return trip. by the end of the trip, the boys both claimed that this was their favorite trail, and from a scenic standpoint, mine as well.

As stated, BB is full of mossy rocks, lichen, ferns and shade.

**i have more nice pics, but blogger has been running super slow the last couple days. don't know if it's our line or their software. guess i'll have to wait.

I love this shot. its looking downstream of the falls through the boulder field, with Z as a small little entity off to the right. i like the light too, with Z in the shade. i've made this my desktop and might just keep it a while there, and even make it my desktop at school too. que lindo es.

(took me three days to somehow load this. wish my good wife would let me buy some honking, kickass desktop with loads and loads and loads of memory and CPU processing, and broadband to boot.)

(Wow, 2 in a row!!!) This i call the Rhododendron Tunnel. it's pretty self-explanatory, but a heavenly thing to be under the cool, dark leaves in this moist hollow.


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