I climbed a mountain. Me. Who is afraid of heights.
Here, the tiny way markers led to the other side of the creek, so we crossed and kept going. Wrong. We should have crossed, then crossed back. Or just stayed on the right side of the creek. On the left there was no path.
We scaled that mountain. Literally. Not far up, it became an almost vertical climb. I am not exaggerating. We kept thinking if we got just a little bit higher we could see the top of the falls, the place where Cochran leaps over the lip of the mountain and cascades straight down. We never did.
Three hours in to our hike/climb, my legs were shaking and we still hadn't reached the top. There would appear to be a summit, then a ways further up, we'd realize it was not.
It was definitely beautiful from up there, above the trees and the world below. A little hard to appreciate or enjoy when resting on the side of a near-vertical incline. But, beautiful nonetheless. We found a rocky verge and stopped to rest, eat some trail mix, some fruit, drink some water. I got a couple of pictures, but by then, the overriding thought was not beauty or pictures, but how in the hell to get back down.
We were careful to avoid the saw briers. These are wicked strong briers that reach out and grab and can hurt like the dickens. There were so many in our downward path, I dubbed Frosty 'Saw Brier Mountain'. I think I may still have one stuck in me arse.
Home again, I took a hot shower and collapsed, muscles screaming from head to toe.
It's now two days later. Randy found a discussion forum on GeorgiaHikes.com that talks about a guy who died up there, having fallen on slippery rocks in the falls. Ha. Glad I didn't read that before we went up.
But, yes. We'll go back. Why? Because we still haven't gotten to see that glorious, free-falling cascade.
And because we're stubborn and refuse to say uncle.
Photographs from top to bottom: mud 'lake' on jeep road on way in to Cochran Falls; Lower Cochran Falls; Lower falls through rhododendrons; view from rocky verge; slide below lower falls; below slide