Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 5 - Ramsey Cascade

Day 5 kicked our hineys. A lady I work with told us about Ramsey Cascade and how beautiful it is and told us we must go. So, I told Blake about it and we decided that's what we would do. Go and check it out.

I researched it in the internet and read that it was an intermediate hike. Well, come to find out it's intermediate for your every day hiker. We ARE NOT every day hikers. The last hike I went on was a Frontier Camp for Young Life back in high school, when I used to work out almost every day. I have been working out for the last 6 or so months to fit into my wedding dress but I was still not expecting it to be as hard as it was...

If you would like to hike Ramsey Cascade in your own home here is what you do: Get your lap top, set it on a high table or stool in front of a stair master and work that stair master for about an hour and a half...there you go, you've hiked the last hour and half of Ramsey Cascade!! The last hour all there is are rock stairs, seriously. At first I thought, "Cool, they made stairs for us...this should be easier than the uneven trail we've been on." WRONG. It was non-stop walking up stairs up a mountain. WOW.

The sore feet, aching back, tight shoulders, sore abs, painful leg cramps and all was definetly worth it. I woke up on Friday morning and couldn't figure out why every single muscle in my body hurt...who knew that hiking worked EVERY single solitary muscle in your body? Even my forearms hurt!! Ha-ha-ha-ha!

We started off strong and enjoyed the views and the sounds. You couldn't see the river yet, only hear it. It was almost beckoning us to keep going, "Come on! We just left there and it's gorgeous! Keep going!!" :)

We made it to the half way point and thought we didn't have that far to go. We walked another 45 minutes and ran into the first people we've seen since we started the hike. We asked them how much further and they said a good hour. "Okay, no problem." They warned us that it got very rocky and steep and that the weather was getting worse and it was already snowing at the top...we were still determined to make it.

Fast forward another 45 minutes and we ran into another couple. This couple were true could tell. They probably looked at us and thought, "Oh no...newbies..." We asked them the same thing,
"About how much longer until the falls?"
"Oh you've got a good hour in front of you..."
"What?? That's what the last couple said," I thought...

We kept trucking (very, very slowly along) and about 20 minutes later we ran into antoher hiking duo. They told us that they left the falls exactly 28 minutes ago so it would take us about 30 or 45 minutes. The weather was getting worse and I was getting worried and suggested we just turn around. I could tell Blake really wanted to see the falls so we pressed on.

We reached the bottom of the falls about 40 minutes after our meeting with the last couple we ran into. There were two other foot bridges we had to cross but this last part there wasn't one. You were to cross through the river hopping about on rocks with water flowing around you. It was probably in the 30's and snowing harder. On the hike up there the rocks were getting icy and we could only imagine that the rocks in the middle of the river were icy as well so we didn't actually make it to the clearing where you could clearly see the falls.

We could see through the trees and saw the falls but it was a little dissapointing not to really see them clearly. BUT, I didn't want to get my feet wet in the weather and get sick and Blake was with me on this one...

We headed back down, which was so much nicer than the hike up and no matter how hard it seemed it wasn't all that bad and we really enjoyed it. The pictures don't do it justice. If you ever go to Tennesse make the's worth it.

Headed into Gatlinburg on the way to Ramsey Cascade

God put a spotlight on the trail for us...

The road taking us to Ramsey Cascade trail
Only 4 miles...this shouldn't be too hard. RIGHT!!!!!!
The beginning of the trail
The leaf was bigger than my head
Blake, looking forward to what lies ahead
Me excited about the hike...stupid, stupid, stupid. Ha-ha!!

Looking over one of the bridges on the way to the trail
Colorful leaves

Pictures are beautiful but it can't capture the awesomeness :)

It looks like Merlin's forrest

Me beside the cliff

Thank you forrest fairies....
These were laying up against a tree about 30 minutes into our hike. I told Blake about 10 minutes before we came across these that I wish we would've stopped at Wal-Mart and bought hiking sticks. We thought we were so tired only 30 minutes into the hike but little did we know what was to come and how much these would come in handy.

Me and my peace stick

Walking down the trail
How pretty is this?

Blake's such a handsome hiker

Hiker Holly

Looking over a cliff, down at the river

Hiker Blake

This was the first part of the trail...a piece of cake...smooth sailing..."this isn't intermediate" I thought...little did I know what was ahead...

This picture is amazing

2.5 mile marker...

The bridge doesn't look very high above the river but it was about 10 or 15 feet. I am scared of heights and was really worried that it was simply a log, cut in half, thrown across the river...
Blake on the scary bridge
Me, scared but all smiles.

It was so beautiful!

This is the point in the hike I stopped smiling...ha-ha!

1/2 way through the hike Blake and I were both exhausted already and I managed to capture this shot...ha-ha!

Blake forgot his ski jacket so his sweatshirt was soaked. Poor guy...he still enjoyed it though

Hiker Holly

Winter wonderland

My weary husband :)

Back at the 1/2 way point but now it's snowing...

We left our walking sticks for the next day's set of hikers. Hopefully, a couple like us, who are not hikers will get them. Those "regular" hikers (weirdos) will probably have thier own walking sticks...

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