Out and About

A walk down by the river

Calling all lovers of the Locust Fork River, waterfalls, covered bridges, hiking, or just the great outdoors. Autumn is the best time of year to be out in nature. Friends of the Locust Fork River, in conjunction with the Blount County Covered Bridge Festival in Oneonta, has a treat for you. It is an easy-to-moderate hike from Swann Covered Bridge in Cleveland to Powell Falls. The falls is one of the prettiest sites on the Locust Fork River in Blount County. The falls are most often seen from a boat in what’s called the “whitewater section” of the river. I invite you to view them from a different perspective.

FLFR has been leading the hike for many years. The hiking day is sometimes warm, sometimes cold, usually dry, sometimes wet, but always fun. You’ll meet some like-minded people you may have never met otherwise. It could even lead to marriage as it did a few years ago. If it’s raining or miserably cold, the hike will probably be called off. In that case, you’ll be made aware if you’ve registered to hike.

It’s an easy hike for the most part and not much more than a mile. We do navigate some rocks and a small stream crossing. Hence, “moderate” is added to the hiking difficulty description. You need to be in pretty good physical shape. Kids accompanied by parents have really enjoyed the hike. One year a lady that had a heart bypass two weeks earlier hiked explaining her doctor told her to “get out and walk”. I wonder if a moderate hike through the woods was what he meant. She did fine by the way. We don’t walk at a quick pace. It’s about the journey not the destination, right? In this case, it’s about both.

It’s a very pretty and inspiring hike. Not only will you see a part of the river you’ve probably never seen, you’ll see numerous rock formations and outcroppings, 100-foot bluffs, wildflowers, etc. One year we saw Bambi still wearing his camouflaging spots while listening to the river’s song.

Once you make the hour-or-so hike to Powell Falls, it will be time to relax. Break out your lunch or snack and enjoy the visit. Lay back on the rocks, close your eyes, and listen to the water run over the falls, the wind in the trees, and maybe the sound of a red-tailed hawk in the distance. You might see a hawk or an osprey or even a bald eagle surfing the wind current.

I hope to see you dressed for the weather and ready to hike Saturday, Oct. 27. Bring your wildflower book, a camera, and a friend! Visit www.flfr.org for more information and to register for the hike. Sure you can come without registering, but if hiking plans change, organizers won’t be able to let you know.