Monday, April 14, 2014

Citico Creek Wilderness--Jake Best Falls and Crowder Branch Cascades

Trailing arbutus along the banks.

Citico Creek Wilderness

Jakes Best Falls and Crowder Branch Cascades

March 30, 2014

Dana & Kenny Koogler

 I continue to get well  over Miller Fisher syndrome's damage to my brain and nervous
system.   I am now driving without an eye patch.  My vision is 99% healed.  The biggest
problem I've got to work on and overcome... is getting my proprioception back.  
Proprioception is one of our senses we don't ever think about it.  Even when it is messed up it is hard to tell someone what the malfunction is.  Why? Because it is one of our deepest rooted, earliest evolutionary senses.  We rarely, conciously think about it.  What is the position of my body and my limbs in space?  If we had to consider this we'd not be able to do things like drive and keep our eyes on the road.  Eat popcorn while watching a movie, etc.  

        Kenny had said and I agreed that he felt I needed as much hiking as possible.
It would re-train my brain. One thing I noticed was that anything I'd done before... got easier the next time!  The stairs at work were horrifying to me at first. So was trying to find my way around in the building in the new part I was working in.  It is better now!
My brain is learning to re-wire itself and what a wonderful feeling that is!
 I am playing piano daily to help with that too.

       Today we wanted to do something close to home.   It was rainy and kinda cold.
We had decided while the weather was still cool we'd try to locate an off trail waterfall in Citico.  The good news is that the forest service has cleared out the downed trees from the back roads.   We managed to drive close to our destination.  We had to park and walk the rest of the way because it is gated, but the road itself was an easy walk to where we could see the falls down the bank.    

          We managed to make it down over the steep, slippery bank to this beautiful falls.

This is a 35 ft drop on Jakes Best Creek.   We did not yet figure how to reach the 100 footer below this one.  I was still too dauncy for that.   I need to go back and try again
in cold weather when my senses are 100%.   It is serious rattlesnake country
and the terrain is far too steep to fret with avoiding snakes while trying to hang on to trees, limbs, rocks or whatever you can to climb.   I did see the brink of the 100 footer just beyond this.  Kenny thinks he sees a way around the mountain to it during cold weather.
I was climbing up out of there and saw one of these.

This was new to me... a red bellied snake. He was crawling out from under
the bark on an old rotten log.  They are harmless.  The scientific name
for them is Storeria occipitomaculata.   They eat slugs and worms and stuff like that.

Here is the pool below the 35 foot falls.. with the brink of the 
larger falls just barely visible at its edge!

I climbed huffing and puffing back to the road above me.  I was on all fours like a dog when I finally got up there.  It was hard for me.  Kenny laughed and said he wished he had a picture of it. Now you see why it is imperative to be the camera handler in a group?

It began pouring rain on us.  By the time we got to the bottom of the road it had quit though.    We decided to chance another short jaunt.  We went out Doublecamp Road.
We hiked Crowder Branch trail to the cascade along it.  It is quite pretty and not a hard hike.  We did have to cross the creek seven times in a little less than a mile.  It was GOOD for me!  I only had one small melt down on some slanted slippery rocks.  I will never take
my brain's ability to sense my position for granted again after this! 

    We made it to this pretty, smallish cascade. 
Someone had built a cairn on a log right in front of it. 

This was not the most spectacular hike, but it was pretty and accomplished my purpose.
We got to see something new. Got some exercise and fresh air.  It did not take a long time.
And got us out of the house for awhile.  Back home it was good to be dry and warm and rest.   


  1. OMG! I have never seen a red bellied snake! That pic is the bomb!

  2. Thanks but that is not my photo. It is a stock photo. I tried to just post a link to it, but that did not work. He's a cute snake.


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