Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jakes Creek Trail --Avent Cabin and Cascades Galore!

Avent Cabin sits up on its hill above Jakes Creek

Jakes Creek Trail --Avent Cabin and Cascades Galore! 

Dana Koogler solo 

Saturday March 5, 2016

Pictures are here: 

Jakes Creek Pix

   Kenny got home from working out of town in Bristol on Friday. I was glad to see him, but the reason they called him back was that the crane company could not cover a job at Kingston Steam Plant.  He was home, but he'd still be working Saturday. It would be at Kingston now instead.
We were both still glad he got home after two weeks.   He would be off Sunday so that was good too.
Meantime I had plan B ready for myself which was to go hiking in the Smokies on Saturday.
I had long wanted to go up Jakes Creek and photograph and videotape some of the many pretty cascades along it.   I always seemed to be using that trail as part of some long hiking loop.
Being in a hurry to get somewhere or tired returning from somewhere didn't exactly motivate me to climb down to the creek over and over to take pictures.   Mike Maples and Ben recently went
exploring up there and seeing their adventures moved it up my list.

           The day was supposed to be beautiful, but got off to a cold start so I lingered over a second cup of coffee at home giving the day a chance to warm up.   I followed someone in an SUV with Texas plates down Laurel Creek Road from Metcalf Bottoms until I turned in to Elkmont.
The guy was weaving all over the road. I couldn't tell if he was impaired, scared of the curvy road, or rubber necking the scenery.   He was scary in his driving though!  Lookout Gatlinburg, here he comes!   Glad to be shed of that I eased round to the parking areas near the trailheads.  The next thing I encountered was a church bus parked in the middle of the road in the parking area.  I sat there trying
to decide are they going to move here in a minute or do I chance passing him on the right?
I had enough room and so I chanced it.  I made it past and round to the Jakes Creek parking area.
Plenty of people, but not crowded.   The church bus pulled round there and parked. I thought my luck was run out and that I was about to be joined by an entire youth group on my hike.  A man and woman got off the bus and I heard her say something to the man. "Most of these people are poorly prepared to hike.  We can either hike Jack's Creek or Little River. I don't think they are able to handle Jack's Creek. Let's park over here and walk back there and let them hike that trail."  Yippee!
Park wherever you want but please don't come up this way.  Yes Lord!

 Jakes Creek below the Avent Cabin.
Bridge crossing to the Avent Cabin.
   I hiked straight out the shortcut and turned onto Meigs Mtn. Trail then on up to Jakes Creek Trail.  It makes it A LOT easier cutting off that steep climb at the start.   I mosied on and soon began climbing down to the stream to get photos and video clips.  It seemed like no time and I was at the Avent Cabin. My tummy was growling and I realized it was noon!  I sat on the porch and had the place to myself for the entire time.   For a pretty Spring Saturday I was suprised that while there were plenty of people I didn't encounter too many. A couple groups of backpackers and hikers coming in as I was on my way out..... that was about it.    The skies were blue. The sun shone down.  The breeze stirred and the air was fresh and cool. I was in shirt sleeves.  Perfect.

           Avent cabin sitting up on its little hill.

Jakes Creek Cascade  right in front of the foot log for the Avent Cabin.

          Once I had finished my sandwich I went back down to the footlog and just enjoyed the stream and the cascade.   I remembered two years ago Kenny bringing me there to do short hikes to rehabilitate me after getting out of the hospital.  I had almost no balance and was having double vision and wearing a pirate patch on my left eye.  I would hike and he would hold my hand while I tried and usually ended up crying and then laughing.  I realized I was crazy looking and acting, but determination, a sense of humor and God's mercy and healing power....... and a few weeks later I was right as rain.     Just getting to the cabin was a struggle then. Today it was a piece of cake.

           I climbed back up onto the trail and mosied on.   The trail is a gradual climb. I walked along enjoying the day and taking stock of what cascades I wanted to come back down to.   I inventoried them on the way up and when I got to the two mile point on the hike in.... I wasn't seeing as much that interested me. I figured I'd turn around and head back and start climbing  down into the stream now to actually take the images of all these things.   I stopped at the only bridged crossing on Jakes Creek Trail and began there  with the photos and video and worked my way backward.  I always like that little crossing.  It has cascades above it. and one coming in from the side!

2016-03-05 12 49 55
More cascades along Jakes Creek.

   Further down the trail I climbed through the rhodo and got some images of some pretty scenic cascades that are visible from the trail, but they are so much prettier up close!

jakes creek closeup 5This one...
Jakes Creek closeup cascade
And this one......... What is neat here is that I am inches away from the water.  I am standing in a hole with rocks before me.. damming the creek and keeping this cascade from washing over me. If not for the natural rock dam stopping the flow of the water I'd be in it up to my waist.  The cascades here were particularly pretty. Very green and mossy with foamy white water tinged with aquamarine.

jakes creek closeup 4
A little different view of a slide that is part of this set of cascades.

2016-03-05 14 14 07
Sun peeping through the forest canopy and rhodo down into the spot where I am sitting.

I sat in the rhodo on a rock and ate an orange and soaked up the sunbeams and the sound of the stream.  Just let the peace flow in.  I left all the things that had been bugging me through the week in the forest down there tangled in the rhodo and washed down the stream.  I gradually hiked back toward the jeep just enjoying the sights and sounds.  I left the woods smiling and light hearted. I didn't meet anymore people until I was back on the main trail.     I put together a video of the different spots along the creek.

****Edited to Add*** Last weekend I lost my FitBit on Panther Creek Trail. It showed up on Rich Mtn. Trail three days later. BUT when it came back...... my little brown Smokies hiking guidebook disappeared from Rich Mtn Trail.  Today I stopped and purchased one at the Townsend Visitor Center to replace it.  I had searched car, backpack,house for it multiple times.  Today on Jakes Creek Trail the hiking guide rematerialized.  Thus.......... I am sure I have an INTERDIMENSIONAL VORTEX in my backpack.  I am going to start keeping a log book of "   <~~~It went missing here
And it showed back up over here~~~>" Magic! 

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