Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hiking With Teens at Tallulah Gorge

What would you do with a Friday if you could secure a babysitter?  Go hiking with a bunch of teenagers, of course!  Well... maybe not with teenagers.

View from up above before descent down the stairs

I heard that our youth minister was planning on taking a bunch of teens and adult leaders to Tallulah Gorge to hike the gorge floor trail, and I felt that it was my duty, being one of our youth group's adult leaders, to lend my assistance as a chaperone.  Some gracious and awesome friends of ours agreed to take Matthan for the day (free of charge, God bless you, you know who you are) at the last minute and I secured a spot for the day trip.  And because I was not going to take the weight of our camera, you'll have to settle for iPhone pictures.

Stairs.  Lots and lots of stairs.  531 to be exact.

As you may recall, I've been to Tallulah Gorge before.  So I knew what I was in for.  Unfortunately, not everyone knew.  In case you are wondering if hiking the gorge floor trail is for you, let me just say that "hiking" is a euphemism for bouldering, which is what you actually do on the gorge floor trail.  A full body workout my friends.  And that's without the painful climb back up the hill after sliding down Sliding Rock (creative name, no?).

Suspended bridge

Then after you've completed your "hike", past the beautiful scenery that includes a few waterfalls, you have to choose to turn around and get back out the way that you came, or ascend the shorter, yet steeper incline of Sliding Rock Trail.  So basically, you pick your poison.  We chose the latter.

First waterfall at the bottom of the stairs.

The teens did awesome.  The adults struggled a little.  The scenery was beautiful.  The weather was awesome.  The gorge floor is approximately 1,000 feet down and you hike with the sides of the gorge climbing steeply up on either side of you.  Like this picture? 

I took the opportunity to stage this picture, however, it is actually that steep, but I was only four feet off the ground with no intention to go any higher.  

More waterfalls

Pausing for a break

I'm very thankful that we had no major injuries although several minor ones.  I came out with several bruises (not to mention I could barely move the next day from being so sore), and I did cut my hand open sliding down Sliding Rock.  

See the hiking trail?  No?  Exactly.  Just rocks.

We spent the afternoon eating lunch by Sliding Rock while watching others take the slippery plunge into the cold water below and then we jumped in ourselves.  We dragged ourselves back up the hill as many times as we could muster (I capped off at three slides down).  

At the top of Sliding Rock.  Soaked, sore, tired, and really happy to be there.

The videos below (they're the same*) are of me sliding down into the water.  The first time I went down I didn't realize how fast it went, so in the video, I'm going down the slower side.

Pretty flower.

We chose to hike out the very steep Sliding Rock trail because it's supposedly shorter.  Now having done both exit routes, I'm honestly not sure which one I'd pick next time.  I tried to capture just how steep it was in the pictures below.  I'd say maybe, maybe, Sliding Rock Trail is better because if you hike out the way you go in, you then have to climb the 531 stairs to get back out.  Maybe.

My loving husband let me lick my wounds the day after, but the day after that we went hiking as a family (another post to come).... because I'm a glutton for punishment?  Who knows.  

*The video on my phone is really clear, but for some reason gets fuzzy when I try to upload it.  So, I was trying to see which way produced a clearer video.  I haven't had a problem with other videos.  


  1. I think your iPhone photos are great! I'd have to get paid (a lot, mind you) to carry a heavier camera. I wanna go!

  2. I would LOVE for us to go, but it will probably have to be when the kiddos are older.