After sitting a spell to enjoy a peaceful setting at the base of Spruce Flats Falls, I decided to hike downstream to see what I could find. During summer months, the water is generally lower than otherwise, allowing one to more easily traverse the rock-lined waterway of Spruce Flats Branch. Nevertheless, there are several areas which remain difficult to safely navigate, and it’s important to be mindful of potential hazards.
Of course, damp rocks are slippery, as is moss (which is everywhere), and each should be approached with caution. Worse yet, though, are rocks which appear dry yet have a thin, slippery film under a fine layer of dirt. Other rocks, some of significant size and weight, defy ones perception of stability, unexpectedly shifting underfoot, posing a risk of falling or injuring an ankle. The same holds true for downed timber. It’s important to always test whether or not a log can support ones weight, if that is the purpose applied for passage. Again, even the largest log can give way and pose real danger.
At a few points, I had to climb up and out of the creek bed, making my way across steep and narrow surfaces, before descending again back to the water below. In such situations, trekking poles are critical and serve to provide needed support for both weight and balance. It’s also wise to be aware of surrounding handholds (hearty plants, small trees or exposed roots) on hillsides, should the need exist.
The final stretch of this creekside adventure entailed descending a 15-foot rock face, strewn with logs and quite slippery in some areas. This waterfall is named Honey Cove Falls, and is visible from along a dirt road in Tremont, across Middle Prong Little River. Following consumption of water and a protein bar, I relaxed to enjoy the natural beauty of this area, thereafter pondering… what next? Do I retrace my steps up the mountain to Spruce Flats Falls, expending a great deal of time and energy in so doing, such that I may then hike out along the trail from which I entered the forest? Or, given a seasonal deficiency of water, is it possible to safely wade across Middle Prong Little River, in order to follow the road back to my parked vehicle?
I opted for the latter, very cautiously wading through over 2-feet deep flowing water, across a river bed of very slippery stones. Even here, caution is critical to avoid injury, as ones feet can slip and become wedged between rocks.
All told, I had a great hike and enjoyed many sights which are not often seen. Being mindful and with a deep respect of the danger inherent in nature, such hikes aren’t overly difficult. However, without deliberation, it can be very easy to have a bad day.
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