Monday, June 23, 2008

Walls of Jericho

Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
On Saturday, we did a hike that is frequently considered one of the most beautiful in the area, the Walls of Jericho. The land was privately owned and closed for years; the Nature Conservancy bought it and turned it over to the states of Tennessee and Alabama. As you might guess, the hike is right on the border of the two states. You can approach from either side, but the two trails meet near the Walls themselves. We chose to start on the Alabama side.

The trail started off as nothing special. The trail is in a forest that was regrown after logging. It was downhill most of the way - we gained 175 feet on the way there but lost a lot more. Finally, we got to a creek. As we followed it, bluffs began to rise on each side of us, becoming walls. Eventually we left the trees where the creek widens into what looks like an ampitheater (see photo). This is pretty spectacular, and it's where we ate lunch. Small pools in the rock held tadpoles and the most amazing tiny frogs - they weren't any bigger than a ladybug. Afterwards we scrambled over the edge of the bowl and onto a flat rocky area. From there one can climb down into another, smaller bowl with sheer sides. In the spring, water runs into this, but it was dry when we saw it.

The hike isn't a loop, so as we retraced our steps out, we were heading uphill, gaining 1300 feet this time. It started to rain on the way out, but never very hard, and the trees provided plenty of shelter.

As always, you can see more of my photos by clicking on the links, and you can see some of Joe's photos here.

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