Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Natural Wonders

While Son did his job shadowing (see previous post), Daughter and I headed down to the Cumberland Falls area. It was an especially beautiful day. To understand the scale of those big rocks lying around the falls, just take a peek at the fence on the cliff that keeps hikers from taking an unplanned swim! (in the photo below)

Just below the falls, there is beach. It used to be a popular swimming and sunbathing spot in the 1960's. Now it is used only by fishermen and hikers. It is peppered with coal pieces. This photo (above) is taken on the beach. Notice how clear the water was!
Ah....the rainbow. Each time the sun shone a bow would appear in the mist of the falls. In fact, Cumberland Falls is one of only 3 places in the world where a Moonbow appears regularly on clear, full-mooned nights.

The old walkway to the beach has been ruined by years of floods and lack of funding. It was easy to pretend that we were walking among the ruins of an ancient castle. (and fun too.)
A view downstream from the falls. (In the distance, the cave/overhang on the left is directly across from the beach.)

Now THIS was an unexpected treat. We were reading the local park brochures and saw that there are several rock arches in the area. We asked a park ranger and he suggested we go to see the Natural Arch.
A 10 minute drive to a nice little park. Then a small hike on a paved trail brought us to this overlook. Again, scale is hard to show in this photo. I was just a bit reluctant to take the trail across to the arch itself, but Daughter in her enthusastic youth convinced me that I'm not "that old."
The trail down to the arch was....well....downhill for the most part. It was paved and had nice steps with handrails. And we were the ONLY ONES there. It was so peaceful and fun to try catching the wildlife unaware that we were approaching. There was a warning sign in the arch about not stealing any Native American artifacts from the area.
Here is a close-up of the arch from the overlook again. Look how tiny the Pine trees look on top of it!

Then we arrived. It was so cool! There just isn't any way to properly describe it.

This is a video I took to try to capture the scale of the landscape and the wonder one feels while there. I suppose it never looks as good on t.v. as it is in real life. Notice the wild columbine growing!


We left with promises to come back with the rest of the family. I hope to be able to take some friends and their families with us too! It makes a wonderful day or weekend trip. You must visit this area if you are ever down (or up) this way!

Oh, a note: leave yourself about twice the time to get back up the trail. Remember I said it was mostly downhill on the way to the arch? Guess what that means! LOL! We made it though.


Tipper said...

What beautiful pictures! The water is so clear. Makes me want to search for rocks-even though your not supposed too. Thanks for sharing the great photos. I would love to see the arch up close-so amazing.

Marci said...

BEAUTIFUL pictures Teresa. THanks for sharing. We have talked about going there. I will show this to my husband.

Louise said...

The Falls are beautiful. My Mom used to live not too far from this area in Ky.