Hike: Gorge and other trails @ Noccalula Falls, Gadsden, AL, Sat., 4/10/2010, 10:30-14:00
Distance: approx. 2 miles Rating: 5+/5
Conditions: Bright, sunshine. Temps low 60's to mid 70's. Light breeze. Trails in main park well maintained and mostly gravel. Gorge trail natural surface. Markings adequate though not the best. (Note: Trail maps were not available on entry. Perhaps due to the distraction from the BBQ Festival.) Finding the trail was more difficult than negotiating the trail. Neither was greatly difficult.
C.O.M.E. #19: Had a wonderful time! Gadsden's Annual BBQ Festival was held on same day (of which I was not aware until we got there) but the crowd was mostly confined to the parking lot and vendor areas. We were not crowded at all in the gorge or our hike to the falls.
It was amazing to hike behind the 90ft waterfall and peer out through the dazzling curtain of water. The flow is signifcant and the crash of the water is certainly audible - though it is not oppressively loud. It felt as if we were entering a secret world as we descended into the gorge and especially as we entered the cavernous area behind the fall. Cliff swallows plied through the mist (chasing insects I presume) as we were misted by the wind-blown fog from Noccalula Falls. Rocks all around the falls were slippery necessitating the careful stepping from rock to rock. It was best to step on soil rather than rock if you could.
The water flows down the gorge from the pool, often dropping through slots and small waterfalls. Massive boulders line both sides of the creek and oten intrude into the water. I don't believe this is water you would want to find yourself in - at least not in this area. Wild hydrangea lined much of the downstream side of the trail (though it is not in bloom yet). Other wildflowers joined the Redbud trees in wonderful displays. The purple wisteria in this park is particularly showy - giving the hiker not only a visual treasure but also bathing him/her in a sweet perfume. Kathy, Liz, Jon, and Amber joined me on this expedition. I hope everyone else had as great a time as I did. It ended much too soon.
To be able to appreciate GOD at work in HIS Creation at such a visceral level and share it with people I care about greatly makes for an unforgettable experience. Thank you guys for coming with me.