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    Default Cumberland Falls State Park - Trip Report

    This past spring we had plans to hike a loop in Cumberland Falls State Park, but torrential rains made it impassable and dangerous. So we rescheduled to early October. I thought I'd share some pictures and a little report from our trip. Many thanks to Siestita, who recommended the route and provided accurate detailed information.

    We left work Friday afternoon around 3:00, drove up to Kentucky, ate supper at a picnic table near the end of the parking lot, and then hit the trail. We headed for a campsite at Bunches Creek, about two miles upstream from the big waterfall. We set up a little before dark and went to sleep soon after.

    The next morning I took some pictures of campsite fungi.
    IMG_4841.JPG IMG_4844.JPG
    IMG_4857.JPG IMG_4865.JPG IMG_4852.jpg

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    On the other side of the creek I could see darkness beneath some rock outcroppings. Hmmm, looks like a good place for monsters to live. We should explore!
    IMG_4845.jpg

    Sure enough, I found evidence of "monsters."
    I took the monster stuff away.
    IMG_4855.jpg

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    More monster evidence on a tree. Couldn't carry that away. (Sorry about orientation).
    IMG_4850.jpg

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    Didn't see much wildlife, but there was this cute little guy. Only about 3/4" long.
    IMG_4858.JPG

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    Our route took us away from the river, and up to a nice fire tower. Unfortunately the perimeter deck was locked. The view from the landing was spectacular!
    IMG_4859.jpg
    IMG_4860.jpg

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    After a lunch in the shade at the edge of the tower clearing, we continued down to the river to a point downstream from the big waterfall.
    We dropped our packs at a campsite by the river's edge and followed the trail to a junction where the Sheltowee Trace takes a left.

    We went right and followed a tributary up to Dog Slaughter Falls (I don't think I want to know how it got that name!) Some impressive rocks along the way.
    IMG_4875.jpg IMG_4873.jpg IMG_4866.jpg
    IMG_4870.jpg

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    Found an unusual bit of litter at our campsite. I decided to plant it. Maybe someday a magician will say some special words and turn it into a new kind of mushroom that glows in the dark.
    IMG_4878.jpg

    Unfortunately there is a bigger litter problem along this river. Whenever it floods, it carries trash from surrounding communities into the depths of the wilderness.
    We easily could count 50 or so tires in this one spot.
    IMG_4887.JPG

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    Next morning, after a rainy night, I noticed large logs lying atop big boulders downstream from our campsite. Yeah, that's what the spring flooding does. Glad we weren't here to witness that!
    IMG_4882.JPG

    Loved these beautiful vines draped from the rocks as we hiked back upstream towards our vehicle.
    IMG_4883.jpg

    And these cool liverworts!
    IMG_4892.jpg

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    What will make this trip memorable, however, is the unfortunate slip and fall from this tilted footbridge - probably also a flood casualty. Pretty please, somebody please put some of that metal mesh on THIS bridge!
    IMG_4884.jpg

    I took the handrail and stepped forward gingerly. Despite my caution, I immediately slipped under the rail. I held on for a moment, then fell. I landed on my feet, but off-balance, so I fell backward onto my pack.
    No rocks or thorns, just weeds and dirt. I brushed myself off and rinsed my hands in the nearby stream.
    I wrenched my left knee in the fall, and three weeks later, it still hurts when I move it wrong, but definitely getting better.

    As we neared the big waterfall and the developed area of the park, we noticed a large pipe half buried along the trail. A few yards further, we saw the pipe ascend up the face of a cliff. We hope this is intake from the river for some purpose. Please tell me it's not discharge into the river!
    IMG_4893.jpg

    I'll close with a photo of another big rock, and then the beautiful Cumberland Falls.
    IMG_4890.jpg
    IMG_4894.jpg

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    Very cool thanks so much for sharing! I see you got to camp with some of uncle funguses relatives. Awesome looking place!
    That waterfall wow nice! Did you see any other hikers/campers ?
    And how's that knee?

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    Oh I don't know what that pipe could be? I swimming in the river off the c&o canal with my girlfriend a couple weeks ago And there was a pipe going to the river coming from the college and was dumping water or something my girlfriend asked me what it was ,I didn't know still don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Very cool thanks so much for sharing! I see you got to camp with some of uncle funguses relatives. Awesome looking place!
    That waterfall wow nice! Did you see any other hikers/campers ?
    And how's that knee?
    Knee is okay, but I haven't asked it to endure anything difficult. I'm taking it easy for a good long while to let it fully heal.

    We saw plenty of dayhikers, but only one other backpacker. He was on the Sheltowee Trace and wasn't very sociable, so we left him alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Oh I don't know what that pipe could be? I swimming in the river off the c&o canal with my girlfriend a couple weeks ago And there was a pipe going to the river coming from the college and was dumping water or something my girlfriend asked me what it was ,I didn't know still don't.
    I imagine that was a refreshing autumn swim! It's beginning to get cool down here in Tennessee, 40s-50s at night, 60s-70s during the day.

    Seems like environmental regulations would prevent discharge of anything nasty, but maybe some of it is grandfathered? I wish they would have posted a sign to let us know what it was. And who knows what might have been pouring into the river upstream from small rural communities. But that's why we get our drinking water from small streams, not big rivers, right?

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