As I mentioned, life has taken us on an unexpected detour through East Tennessee….so we’ve been exploring! The children have been gone all day, nearly every day (another post altogether), so our explorations thus far have been left mostly to weekends.
One particular Saturday recently we checked out two local scenic sites, Coker Creek Falls and Buck Bald.
About Coker Creek Falls (from DiscoverMonroe.com):
A designated National Forest Scenic Area, Coker Creek Falls is a wonderful example of the isolation and remoteness of some of the attractions found in this locale. The Scenic Area includes four waterfalls as well as a beautiful 2.7-mile trail that connects with the John Muir Trail at the confluence of Coker Creek with the Hiwassee River.
The four falls range from eight to 40 feet high and some are more than 75 feet wide. They spill through a gorge of huge boulders, rushing water and deep pools. Rock ledges covered with dark green vegetation offer a striking contrast to the sparkling water. The Falls, called Upper Coker Creek Falls, Coker Creek Falls, Hiding Place Falls, and Lower Coker Creek Falls are spaced within ¼ mile of the parking area along an uneven, but well-used trail.
Here’s where I’d like to use the baby as an excuse for ME not getting in the water. And I could, really — but I’m just keepin’ it real. The description from the Discover Monroe website failed to mention one tiny detail. Snakes. Lefty mentioned them. A local (meaning woman we asked for directions when we thought we were lost…again…on the way there) mentioned them. I, in turn, got a case of the heebie jeebies, but (being the cool mom I am) went along anyway…but *I* stayed out of the water and watched the trail very closely (I think I need to purchase something other than flip flops for these kinds of adventures).
Yep, I’m old. Snakes didn’t used to bother me. Nothing used to bother me (except mosquitoes). I was once invincible; but now I’m trying to fend off the big 4-0 (something which scares me a little more than snakes even, maybe). Things change.
Anyway…The children had a great time climbing the falls. I did what I do — took lots of pictures. And the teenage boys announced to me later that they did indeed have a close encounter with a 4-ft long copperhead. I would have been better off NOT knowing that…
|Coker Creek Falls
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Buck Bald was a little less snake-y. The scariest part of it was the drive to get there. I was assuming since it is a local tourist attraction, that the road to get there would be more easily maneuvered (as in 2-lanes, or paved). Wrong! The road to Buck Bald was not easily marked (we passed it and had to turn back); it looked more like a driveway entrance. And the road was much like the rest of the backwoods mountain roads in the area; 1-1.5 lanes wide and mostly gravel/dirt. Thankfully we didn’t meet any traffic (coming or going) in our 15 passenger van.
Once at the top, there is nothing to do but to enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains spanning three states. (There are a few picnic tables. It would have been a nice peaceful place to have enjoyed lunch).
Here is the description of Buck Bald, again from the Discover Monroe website:
Buck Bald is a little known and often overlooked scenic point that sits along the southern border of Monroe County, Tennessee.
Located less than 3 miles off of Highway 68 at the end of a gravel road, Buck Bald is a high clearing which was once home to a fire tower. A helicopter landing pad is still visible.
Visitors can picnic while enjoying a panoramic 360 degree mountain view of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Bring your camera and stay for sunset. It’s simply incredible and unforgettable.
My description can be summed up in one word: breathtaking.
I think I will have to take advice from the website and make another trip up there one evening at sunset, perhaps in the fall.
Enjoy my photos for now, although they don’t do the scene justice.
|Buck Bald – Coker Creek, TN
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