We went up to Tennessee with extra days built in just to chill before we had to be anywhere for the wedding. I'd heard of Greeter Falls but we didn't have any other big hiking or outdoorsy aspirations so we didn't pack for them. (As in no appropriate footwear.) But then I noticed a pamphlet on an end table in the lake house listing days hikes in the area. Some were marked easy and some said they took you to a "swimming hole."
Who can resist a good swimming hole?
Our second morning there Kevin got on the phone with a ranger and picked out a hike for us, a 2 mile loop with a swimming hole. Woo-hoo!
Off we went trying to decipher the ranger's directions, Past the bend, count five trees, pass a lumber mill, go behind the elementary school and follow the road past two cows... (maybe not quite that bad but almost) and, because we are geniuses at deciphering southern directions speak, we found the Fiery Gizzard Trail in the South Cumberland Recreation Area.
But, because we're not that smart in so many other areas, we started the loop backwards, missed our watering hole, toughed rocky terrain (the first mile was labeled "moderate" I later learned) IN FLIP FLOPS all with an 8, 5, and special needs 3 year old who refused to wear ANY kind of shoe and also didn't want to be carried.
It's kind of a miracle our only injury was to one of Kaden's flip flops. (RIP strap of Kaden's right Sperry.)
Once you're in a ways you're walking pretty high, looking down on a stream. A few times I looked down at larger openings in said stream and thought, that's a nice swimming hole, but how would we ever get down there?
Finally Kevin broke out the trail map, announced we'd started off backwards, missed our swimming hole, but no worries there was another one coming up... Um, ok.
Complete with waterfall.
But how to get down?
But for some reason they wouldn't swim across to the waterfall without Daddy who couldn't join them till I scrambled down but then I did, and Toby and I hung out on a big rock while the others splashed in the falls.
The boys and I did one more swim to the fall and then it was time to climb back up. Up, it turns out is harder than down, especially with wet feet in flip flops, so this we opted to do barefoot. I mean really, who needs gear?
By the time we were back up Toby would only be carried, but luckily our backwards method left us with the flattest least rocky part of the hike left to go, so even though Kaden's flip flop ripped and had to go barefoot and Kevin and I switched off with Toby going back, we made it.
At least we had drinking water.