Sun, Mar 15 2015 - Blood Mountain Cove - Waterfalls, Streams, High Vistas, and More (View Original Event Details)|
The Blood Mountain Cove hike, while challenging, was extremely rewarding. With waterfalls, rock hopping, off-trail hiking, butt sliding, peak bagging, stream crossings, meadows and exceptional weather, this hike had a little bit of everything that outdoor adventurers love.
We were greeted at the parking lot with a wonderful water fall that put us in a good mood...ready to see more!
In the first two miles, the push through dense, muddy forest caused the group to be separated. Luckily, radios kept the two groups in contact. I think Jim's dogs Russell and Riley were looking out for us because Russell helped group one and Riley helped group two. It didn't take long before the two groups found each other at the second big waterfall.
Trekking up the cove, we visited two more waterfalls while hiking along meadows and streams. Despite the briers of Blood Mountain extracting small sacrifices from our arms and legs, the group pushed up deeper into the cove. We were surprised to find another local hiker at our lunch spot, a secluded waterfall high up the cove. After lunch, a short push above the waterfall yielded the Freeman Trail. The group circled around to the east side of Blood and up to the top where we were treated to the usual excellent view but with great visibility. Atlanta could be seen 70 miles away.
After 10-15 minutes in the warm sun, we realized we had 8 more miles to go and it was already getting late in the afternoon. We descended down Blood on the west side but exited the AT at Turkey Stamp to descend into the cove. It was around this time that several hikers realized they were running low on water and feeling dehydrated. Luckily Andrew came prepared with a filter that he graciously shared with those in need when we reached upper Dick's Creek.
Hiking along Dick's Creek, we descended beside a very long cascade of white water. Further down the cove, the grand finale was an even more impressive cascade of the numerous falls and slides of lower Blood Mountain Creek. Hiking along the banks of these two cascades was quite treacherous but the danger was worth it. Words and pictures just don't do this place justice.
As the sun set, we exited the last of the falls. We were very glad we didn't have to hike the hazardous sections after dark.
All in all, the hike lasted about 10 hours. There were many sites to see and enjoy plus the off-trial sections limited our speed. GPS reports over 16 miles and roughly 3400 feet of elevation. How many waterfalls did we see? 10? 12? I lost count.