Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creek Crossing & Wildflowers

Today I asked Gary to take me to Sea Creek Falls. We'd seen the trail before but the creek crossing made us hesitant to cross because we were traveling alone and didn't have a lift kit. Since then a two inch lift off the ground made the creek crossing and four wheeling easier and safer for our vehicle and the passengers.

Before you start thinking about OHV (off highway vehicles) destroying public land, please let me assure you 4wd clubs are some of the least likely to damage pristine areas in nature. They stay on designated trails, they don't traipse through meadows with their vehicles, they don't throw out trash and they educate the public on how to travel responsibly. The 4wd ads you see on TV with SUVs speeding through trails are not what 4 wheeling is about. In most 4 wheeling situations the vehicles travel less than 5 mph and are driven very cautiously. The rule of the passionate OHV traveler is "Pack it In, Pack it Out" and "Leave no Trace".

Our jeep is a 2004 Grand Cherokee and Gary sold his pickup truck to get it. It's the last year they made solid axle suspension which is desired for off road travel. Gary and I have traveled extensively in the West on 4wd trails for years with vehicles such as CJ5s CJ7s, landcruisers, broncos, and so on. We've been on Sierra Trek and the Rubicon in California too many times to count, and Black Bear Pass in Colorado, and many other places. We now belong to the Blue Ridge Mountain Jeepers club (photo above of last event, mini golf and BBQ at Jim's Smokin Que). If you go to the Jeeper's site you can see videos and photos of some of the trails we've traveled on.

 Along the trail today we saw lots of wild flowers. These dwarf iris were blooming everywhere.

 They were in clumps alongside the road. Interspersed among them was lots of poison ivy.

 Here's a log with mushroom growing in profusion.

 Flame azalea were in full bloom but my photo doesn't do them justice.

 There were so many varieties of ferns I couldn't keep track of them all.

Here is a little purple flower which I am unfamiliar with, perhaps a type of geranium, it was so beautiful growing along the roadside.

We passed some serious tent campers along the way. See the smoke stack in the larger military tent; they're ready for bear, as they say. They even had a latrine tent hidden by the larger tent.

Last I saw lots of these pink trillium growing along the road side, but perhaps it's the white variety just faded to pale pink. We got to the trailhead for the falls and numerous huge trees had fallen across the trail so we never did get to see the falls, we could only hear them. Four miles in at about five miles an hour and the same in reverse. At least I had the wild flowers to keep my happy. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. OK, 2" is just a functional improvement. When you said lift kit I was expecting it to be jacked up like a monster truck.

  2. Hi Dennis, thanks, don't give Gary any ideas, it all costs more money we don't have. ha.

  3. Hi Linda, I stopped a bit in Rocky Top, TN, and that was a place for off road ATV's...which were smaller, noisy, and completely spattered in mud. I would say these might be the off-road vehicles which might give the reputation for lack of respect of the environment...the noise they make certainly was disrespectful.

  4. Hi Barbara, thanks, boys will be boys, Gary likes to hit every mud puddle but it's only on designated roads and ok by the forest service. They probably didn't have mufflers.

  5. When I was more steady on my feet that sort of adventuring was wonderful. I know little about ATV's, but as a long time camper I was taught to leave any place cleaner than I found it.

  6. Hi Joanne, thanks, isn't is to wonderful that there are places that are pristine to visit even now.

  7. Hi Michele, thanks, was fun but kind of bumpy, my old bones aren't like they used to be.

  8. Such pretty plants and flowers.

  9. Hi Gigi, thanks, all of them were so small and yet so vibrant and seemingly so hardy.

  10. 'Tis never a good idea to venture through unknown waters. No doubt, as you've said, you found out how deep the water was and that it was passable.

    On Thursday and Friday here in south-east Queensland we experienced very heavy downfalls of rain...continuously...and five lives were lost from people crossing flooded bridges, covered with fast-flowing water. (I can see that crossing you've pictured isn't fast-flowing water; and the conditions experienced here over the past couple of days were vastly different. No matter how often warnings are given out not to do similar in similar circumstances these tragedies occur...and they shouldn't. One life lost was that of a little five-year old sad he's not had the chance to enjoy his life.

    It looks like a lovely area to camp, Linda. :)


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