My family and ours spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as a few days in Pisgah National Forest. It was a great time for all of us.
The Trek Begins
One of the days my wife suggested we go to Mingo Falls near Cherokee North Carolina. We hoped in the truck and headed that way. When we got their we were greeted by a quarter mile with of stairs. I prefer natural trails versus stairs so I was not happy about this. Our kids hopped out of the truck and we hiked up the stairs. After the stairs were defeated (my sons words) we hiked another quarter to half mile to the falls. This time it was a more natural trail. At the falls was a bridge going over the stream the waterfall created.
My wife started across the fallen logs to get a closer picture of the falls. The rest of the family followed while my daughter and I played in the stream and on the bridge. When my wife returned she had told me my son wanted to get to the top of the falls. The top was 125 feet in the air.
I started across the fallen logs and hopped across the rocks to get to the side of the water fall. Waiting their was Isaiah. We began our ascent with him leading the way. He was determined to do it himself.
As we started Isaiah took the lead and was quickly scrambling up the side of the waterfall. Climbing over rocks, stepping over roots, and ducking under fallen trees. He looked agile for a 4 year old. At the half way point, we noticed that the rugged trail split into three. Before I could say anything Isaiah bolted up the trail closest to the water fall. After I caught up to him, he turned to me and said “daddy are you ok?” To which I responded ” Yeah, why?” He preceded to tell me that I sounded a little wore out. I laughed and thought, am I really breathing that hard?
We continued up the side of the falls to a small rocky out cropping. We didn’t know it at the time but this was the top of the falls
Finding a Hidden Fall
Neither Isaiah nor I knew this was the top. We couldn’t see it nor hear it. He spotted what looked like a little game trail at the top of the out cropping and started for it. He handled the out cropping with easy while making me nervous the entire time.
Going down the trail, it began to flatten out and become choked with brush and fallen trees. Isaiah handled these with ease, ducking below and scurrying through where he needed to. Not being as small as Isaiah, I lumbered through, stepping over the fallen trees.
Then we heard it.
The sound of falling water. We couldn’t see it yet through the overgrowth but we pushed through and ducked under one last tree. There it was. A smaller water fall than the one we came to see but one that we didn’t know about. It was great experience to find such a thing. Isaiah was proud of himself, making it up by himself and finding a waterfall. We snapped a selfie as proof and began our descent down.
On our way down. Isaiah’s Uncle Johnny met us at the rock outcropping. We had worried them because of how long we had been gone. He lead the way to the actual top of Mingo falls and Isaiah and I were able to see the waterfall from the top looking down 125ft.
The way down seemed a bit trickier for Isaiah since he had to meter his speed and try not to slide down. He was able to navigate it well but towards the end he had gotten tired. I helped him down the last 20 feet or so. Once we reached the stream he caught his second wind and we were off across the stream. Jumping across rocks and racing over wet logs to get to the bridge.
The falls were beautiful, especially Mingo falls. Isaiah had a great time, Susie got great pictures and I got to see my son handle climb that could be difficult for adults. It was a great little adventure.