Gus Scale: Greeter Falls

Greeter

Greeter Falls is beautiful, but be mindful of the fork in the road. Choosing wrong way could land you on a trail ranked seven out of seven on the Gus Scale.

GusScaleLvl7When we were visiting Foster Falls, we saw a sign for Greeter Falls and decided to check it out. But first, we checked a map. That’s right folks, we learned our lesson not to get into a trail we knew nothing about. Now, if we could just learn to follow the map.

I found Greeter Falls on All Trails, and it was described as a “moderate 1.8 mile hike.” I said that’s doable for the cripple in the group (me – I’m the cripple) so we decided to hit the trail.

It starts out as a fairly level, wide trail. When you come to a fork, you have the option of taking an upper falls trail, or a lower falls trail. Choose carefully, for you may choose your doom.

The upper falls trail is what All Trails calls “moderate.” I can’t dispute this because this isn’t the trail we took. Instead, we took the lower falls trail and proceeded down the precipice toward our second swimming hole of the day. This trail is rugged – very rugged. I ranked this one a seven out of seven on the Gus Scale. Overall, it is comparable to the Foster Falls level of difficulty, but there are some differences to take into consideration.

After taking the fork for Lower Falls, the trail is similar to Foster Falls. You still climb around rocks and pick your way to the bottom of the ravine. When you’re hiking down, I can’t stress enough making sure you have on proper footwear. Even with it on you could roll an ankle – like Karli.

I was several yards back, held up by taking photos and being slow, when Brandon came rushing up asking if I had water. I thought someone had a heat stroke or something. Actually, Karli sprained her ankle, falling and flaying one of her shins on the rocks in the process.

So wearing long pants may not be a bad idea, either.

Did that ankle stop her? No, ma’am, The Beatkeeper also plays roller derby, so she just added the cuts and bruises to her collection and kept on trucking down that hill.

We kept going, all the while knowing that every inch we went down we would have to come back up again. Every so often someone would yell back to me to make sure I wanted to keep going. It’s beautiful and there’s a waterfall at the end of the trail, so I said keep going.

Then we reached the edge of a cliff.

Even though the area is a well-known rock-climbing area, we didn’t have to scale a cliff face to get to the falls. No, we just had to take an aluminum spiral staircase. It’s kind of cool, if you’re not afraid of heights, falling, or open-backed steps.

Well, the waterfall was in sight, so I said, “We’ve come this far. Might as well keep going!”

Then someone shouted back, “Uh, Cassie … there’s more steps?”

Why not? I’m already farther in than I should be. What’s two more flights of steps and a ramp of doom?

We made it down, but the last flight of steps stops at a ramp that is about a 45 degree angle. I didn’t even fool with that, I just clomped down on the rocks and took my chances climbing/crawling over them. And when I say rocks, I mean large rocks, not those little ones you skip stones with.

We got about 10 feet from the ramp of doom, plopped down, and watched some guy jump from about halfway up the falls. I’m definitely not recommending this to anyone – so don’t try so sue me if you break your neck and die trying.

The climb back out was hard on all of us, and my friends are all in reasonable shape. But for me, I felt like I was stopping to catch my breath every 10 feet. Still, it was a great trail and I’d recommend it. Just be prepared, or take the Upper Falls Loop.

Advertisements

Gus Scale: Foster Falls

The ruggedness of Foster Falls gets it a six out of seven on the Gus Scale. It’s a great hike to the falls and swimming hole, but make sure you wear proper footwear and have good knees and ankles.

“Super easy hike to the falls which are pretty awesome!” – Sharon Lester, All Trails Reviewer of Foster Falls/Climbers Loop

The ruggedness of Foster Falls gets it a six out of seven on the Gus Scale. It’s a great hike to the falls and swimming hole, but make sure you wear proper footwear and have good knees and ankles.

The ruggedness of Foster Falls gets it a six out of seven on the Gus Scale. It’s a great hike to the falls and swimming hole, but make sure you wear proper footwear and have good knees and ankles.

Well, Sharon and I agree on one thing: The waterfall is awesome. This trail is not easy.

Foster Falls is in South Cumberland State Park. To get there, you can either drive to the Fiery Gizzard trailhead or hike the 12.5 mild Fiery Gizzard Trail from Grundy Forest. You can take the two-mile loop or just hike to the falls and back out, the way we did.

I hit up this trail Memorial Day weekend on the Annual Camping Trip of Horrors. At the time, this was the most strenuous trail I had done post lung-damage. Even at full lung capacity, this trail would have been difficult. Still, I’d totally do it again.

To get to the falls, we hiked down a steep gorge. The trail snakes its way over large rocks and around trees. It’s not difficult to find or follow, but it can be difficult to navigate. You need to be coordinated. Clutzes like me need not apply.

Once you get to the bottom, there’s a swinging bridge that spans a creek. Just getting down the trail created some muscle burn for me, so I knew getting back up would be difficult.

We stopped at the falls and played around the water for a while, enjoying watching a black lab play the best fetch game of his life.

And then we began the ascent.

Picking my way down piles of rocks wasn’t too bad. Climbing back up over them was rather difficult. Along the way another hiker was complaining about handicapped parking at the trailhead. I guess she didn’t think people with handicapped placards liked to hike? She looked at me and stopped talking. But hey, I get it. You don’t see someone on oxygen on a hiking trail everyday.