Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Indian Flats Falls with Robert

Indian Flats Falls with Robert

Tuesday May 16, 2017

Robert Shaw 
Dana Koogler

8 miles RT hike 

   I had planned to finally meet up with a friend from Facebook to hike for the first time.
He and his family would be vacationing in the Smokies.  They are not too big on hiking and
consequently he goes on shorter stuff with them or auto tours.  He tries to get in half day hikes
either solo or with friends the mornings they are on family trips.  It is a fair compromise. Keeps everyone happy.  Kenny woulda liked to have gone, but had to work.  I look forward to introducing him to Robert.  
First picture I got the camera to take today x 12!!! A dozen photos of this backpack! arrgh!
    I have very limited photos from this hike since Kenny Koogler and someone else who shall
remain nameless screwed up the settings on my camera. It took me a long while to figure out how to fix it.   It was set to a timed delay that had a ten second pause followed by a dozen rapid fire photos of the same damn thing.  Augh!  Some kinda help is the kinda help we all can do without.    I have asked Robert if he'd mind allowing me to include a link to his photos and videos from that hike. We'll see.

          We met at Tremont Institute Tuesday morning. We headed back to the trailhead. 
I had us take separate vehicles as I had never hiked with him before. My concern was that
he'd be in a hurry since he was on a time table, and that I would not be able to keep up with him on his way out. I figured if we had both cars he could hurry on out if he needed to and I'd hike out at my own pace.  Folks can present themselves anyway they choose on the internet.
He turned out to be genuine. Just as presented and even nicer.  I look forward to meeting his wife and the rest of his family.  He is a quality guy and I am sure they are too. 

       We set off up the trail and it seemed to fly by.  It is always so much fun meeting someone new and getting to learn about them.  It makes the time go by faster and the hike to seem far more pleasant.   I tried to be certain to point out places we should stop along the way.   The hike
in is fairly level and today we were blessed that it was not crowded.  We saw people off and on through the day, but not a lot and those we did run into were very nice folk.  We stopped and visited with several of them. One group to give them directions and tips for other stuff to see.
Another older couple just to talk about trekking poles and visit with them.  

        We hit all the usual good spots like the various cascades along the way in.
Lynn Camp Prong and its cascades and falls. We stopped by the old car on the way.
We also stopped for a snack break at the intersection with Panther Creek Trail.   I remarked to him about how a lot of folks don't care for it or use it thanks to the ford being a wade.
It is a wade any time of the year, but it can be pretty swift in Winter or early Spring. I couldn't believe we were already at that intersection.  We also stopped to explore the few ruins along the trail a short distance further.   The ruins of the old CCC camp and the Lynn Camp School foundation.  I saw the metal railroad pieces sticking out in the trail in two spots. 
Beautiful Vasey's trillium deep and dark maroon. Easy to miss because they are hidden beneath the leaves of the plant.  One of the better photos I finally took today again x12.  

     We did not see a lot of stuff blooming today, but a few things. A few Vaseys' trilliums.
We stopped by a few pretty holes of water. I had realized at the first cascade my camera was FUBAR'd so I did not get it out too often. I did monkey with it a few times trying to fix it.
I finally got it to take a few pictures, but it was still not right.     We stopped by a couple particularly pretty water holes on Lynn Camp both on the way up and back.  I pointed out
the spots where manways existed and tried to give a thumbnail sketch of where each one went.
Robert is not a big fan of off trail hiking, but he doesn't mind a little bit. Today we'd have to leave the official trail to reach Indian Flats Falls and that was easy enough.

     The things keeping me from being too upset about my camera situation were that 
1. I had great company 2. The hike was beautiful and the day perfect.  3. I had done this hike many times before.  I figured it would be a lesson in being in the moment instead of trying to document the hike.   It turned out to be a refreshing change of pace for me!  I felt very relaxed.  We walked along talking at a decent pace that did not make me feel pushed at all.   Next thing I knew we had arrived at one of my favorite spots in the park. The upper reaches of Middle Prong Trail where you have turned and are on the approach to Indian Flats Falls. I loved that spot the first time I ever hiked there and it has never lost its charm for me.   The forest is deep and green and lush. Springs of water flow down out of the hills and cross the trail.  The remnants of the old trail and bridge are nearby.  

      We were soon at the point where we had to leave the trail and drop down the manway toward Indian Flats Falls. He had never been before and it always pleases me to be with someone the first time they visit a place. It brings a newness to an old location.   We enjoyed different drops of the falls. Today they were flowing healthy and with enough volume to make
them pretty, but not violent or churned up with silt or debris.   The falls here are moss and green and they are in relative solitude. Much less visited than some spots.  The distance of the hike and the fact you have to leave a maintained trail discourage some folks from making the trip.   It is not hard though.  
Third drop of Indian Flats Falls. Yes, I took this. 
   We checked out each drop. I pointed out the metal bar embedded in the stone of the third level.   He was of the opinion that may have been a handle to help climb up the rock face. He may be right. I cannot see any more logical reason for it than that.   I sat down on a log to wait while Robert donned his water shoes. He was going to cross the stream below the third drop to get some photos and video. I worked on my camera while I waited.  I finally got it to take a few pictures.  It would also shoot video!  The great thing about this guy? He finally found for himself and me.. the location you have to stand to get all the drops of the falls in one frame!
Cross the creek below the third drop. Climb up on a boulder and you have it!
Well done my friend!
  Robert fording the creek. 
         We wrapped up this part of our journey and headed back down the trail.  
I found that we are a good match pace wise.  Unless he was sandbagging to make me feel better
we are a good team.  He claimed he was not holding back.  I felt very blessed to have met a friend and hiking partner of his caliber.  I look forward to more good times in the future.

 Best photo of the day is below.  I'm home. I'm clean, dry, fed, and comfy. I have finally fixed my poor camera.  It is now functioning normally.  No more touching my camera dudes! 


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