So, today we decided to take our first real hike of the holiday and go to Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Officially, the round trip we were told was 5.4 miles! Strange that, my Apple Watch told me the round trip was a total of 7.83 miles! We were not the only ones commenting on the fact that the trail seemed a lot longer than it should have done.
When we arrived at the trail head the world and its mother were there too and everyone was clambering for a parking space. We drove further on down the road and managed to find one but it was quite a hike back to the start.
The day started overcast and as we made our way up to the falls we were very grateful that the sun had not appeared as I don’t think we would have made it to the top if it had. The downside was that as the sun was not shining at the Falls there was no rainbow. If it hadn’t been for the humidity that felt like 100% the hike would have been much easier. By the time we reached the Falls we felt as though we’d done a 10 hour hike in the Rain Forest! We were glowing profusely!
The climb to the falls was up hill all the way. We climbed approximately 1500 feet. The highest point is 4285 feet above sea level and according to the map we had the hike was classed as ‘strenuous’ although officially they say its ‘moderate’ with a difficulty of 8.77. All I know is that it was hard going with fallen rocks, tree roots, mud and water along the way. I now know why Si didn’t mention the classification to me before we left!!
On the way up the trail someone told us about an owl sitting in one of the trees and sure enough there he was. At one point he swooped down into a stream and grabbed a bite to eat.
Once we arrived at our destination there was a little disappointment with the Falls themselves. Perhaps we’ve been spoilt by the beautiful ones we’ve seen in other National Parks. Everyone told us on the way up how wonderful they were. They were certainly pretty but not as magnificent as we had expected.
A few photos showing the hard life of a photographer on the trail trying to get that one perfect shot!
Some fauna on the trail ….
It was a relief to get back to the hotel for a clean up and then dinner. Tonight we ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. A restaurant based on the film Forrest Gump. The food was great and we managed to answer most of the questions when tested by the waitress on our Forrest Gump knowledge.
Because we ordered two particular drinks with our meals, we are now the proud owners of two ‘special’ Bubba Gump glasses. Exciting or what!? Just got to get them home in one piece!
I think we will sleep well tonight! See you all tomorrow.