Waterfall Hike Level 1 – Clark Creek Natural Area – Trip Report
On Sunday, September 23, 2012, we set out from Pack & Paddle for a day hike in Clark Creek Natural Area. The weather had been cool the week prior to the hike, and we were secretly hoping that the trend would hold up. For such a short 2 hour “all-highway” drive East, the trail is remarkably rugged and scenic in some areas, and occasionally reminds the day hiker of the deep back-country foliage of northern Georgia or perhaps Tennessee.
In any event, the group hit the trail at approximately 10:00, ready for an apparent warm day. The initial mile is deceptively all down hill, a landscape that is certain to make for a dreadful march at the end of the day. We plunged forward, after a short mile or so dropping down into the creek bed which provided a refreshing one or two degree drop in the temp, and a cool splash of water on the bandanna or the face. We continued skipping rocks and hopping over boulders along the stream on to the first waterfall, a scenic trickle into a clear pool at its base. Here the sweaty group took a short break, catching our breath and enjoying the beautiful sites.
Next, we set out again on our next destination; little did we know, the trail would test us with an upcoming obstacle or two. As we walked in the shallow valley along the trail, the creek slowly widened. We approached a large puddle with no rocks for crossing, and it was suddenly time for each of the hikers to make a choice: do some rock hopping, or get your feet wet! Reluctantly, for most of us that hadn’t already got the feet wet, now was the time. Next, as we continued down the trail, Hurricane Isaac left us a present: a large tree had fallen clear across the trail! Not to let the long gone storm spoil our fun, we all crossed without problems. Finally, we made it to the second fall, and had a nice 20 minute break.
We decided to post-pone lunch for the third water fall, and off we went. The trail was mildly rugged, mostly involving navigating through small boulders, an occasional hop over the creek, and an ever so often slip in the soft clay that lined the sides of the creek. Needless to say, it was fun! We arrived at the third water fall after rambling through the valley and crossing under another of Hurricane Isaac’s tree victims.
Hikers enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken salad, pita bread, and all the sides one would ever desire, and an awesome cookie desert (thank you Hub City Diner!) while guide Kevin Wallis and assistant guide Brandon Vidrine showed the fellow hikers a short demonstration on how to pitch a tarp, use of an alcohol stove and windscreen for cooking and boiling, and simple water purification techniques.
The hikers all thoroughly enjoyed their day on the trail. And oh, by the way, about those hills on the way back, lets just say the hikers definitely remembered every step!
-Brandon Vidrine, Assistant Guide
To see more photos from this trip, click here!