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Fall Creek Falls Adventure Day 3

Wednesday, our 3rd and final day. LOADED with pictures.

We slept better on Tuesday night as it didn't get quite as cold AND we made Rio lay with us on our air mattress and covered him with blankets, so HE didn't get cold. At one point, we had a bit of a scare tho; John had gotten up in the middle of the night and thinking Rio was asleep, he left the tent door open. Rio saw an opportunity and bolted, which caused John to have to light the lantern and go traipsing in the dark trying to find him. Rio was completely naked; no collar or harness or anything. John was trying to be quiet but when I heard the commotion, I got out of the tent and called his name a couple of times, and he came bounding down the trail. Phew! It was pretty scary there for a bit.

We woke up and had breakfast of ham and bologna sandwiches (the griddle thing we'd bought for bacon and eggs was a piece of crap and had to be thrown away :-( ) and although we had paid to spend Wednesday night there too, they were calling for rain on Thursday and we really didn't like the idea of breaking up camp and making the trek back and forth to the car in the rain.

So we packed up camp and as we had no reason to rush home, why not finish our adventure and check out the other places while there.

We'd thought about going back up to Fall Creek Falls but when we arrived, there were a lot of dogs on flexi-leashes and even a couple poorly tied up around picnic tables......not wanting to endure the joy of Rio* seeing "friends" and people freaking out AND b/c we'd already been there the day before, we decided to try the "Motor Nature Trail"; a one-way drive with lots of stops to enjoy the beauty along the way.

Caplenor Point
It is in the woods we return to reason and faith...

This overlook is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Donald Caplenor, the love he had of the rugged forest below, and his dedication to studying and classifying the plant communities in the gorges of Fall Creek Falls. A noted botanist, Dr. Caplenor died of a heart attack not far from here after leading his students through his beloved Cane Creek Gorge below on April 7, 1979. As you pause and listen to the sound of the wind and water below; remember, this rugged forest is a fragile place worthy of our protection for other generations to view and study.

After Caplenor Point, we came up to Millikan's Overlook and Buzzard's Roost. The view was breathtaking (just like everywhere we'd seen) and I even succeeded in getting a few shots of the buzzard's flying over.

Millikan's Overlook
Buzzard's Roost

Millikan's Overlooks is one of the most inspiring vistas found in Fall Creek Falls State Park. It is named in honor of Dr. Glen Millikan, Vanderbilt physiologist, who fell to his death in a climbing accident in May, 1947. This point faces northward into Cane Creek Gulf. As you look into the deep gulf, and Piney Creek Gulf to your left, let your mind wander. Try to imagine this area thousands of years ago as a tiny stream meandered across the hard sandstone rock, exposed near the top of the gulf, and gradually cut down to the existing stream bed below. If only the majestic hemlock and yellow poplar found in the gulf could talk -- what a story they could tell.

Just to your right, a short trail leads to Buzzard's Roost. If you're looking for a nice quiet place to "re-create", take the short walk and enjoy the stiff wind in your face. There is a good chance a "buzzard" may fly by to investigate.

In memory of David H. Nabi, young naturalist.

Those black dots are NOT dust on your screen, but in fact buzzards
circling in the sky. LOL

The rocky outcrop seen about the center of the photo is Buzzard's Roost
seen from Millikan's Point.

Might be a small section, but this was some BIG steps for me and
McKayla, even John and Rio struggled a bit getting back up.

John and McKayla took the short trek over to Buzzard's Roost, while I stayed by the car with Rio. The trail was looking narrow and I had had my fill of worrying about Rio spooking and spinning and knocking one us of down the abyss. LOL John was able to get some GREAT shots for me tho. ☺

Next up was Piney Falls Overlook and the Suspension Bridge. Rio was NOT having anything to do with the suspension bridge and McKayla wasn't too keen on it either, so although she made it on it briefly, we turned around and went to the overlook instead.

Piney Creek Falls

Like a ribbon of silver streaming through a green velvet pillow, Piney Creek Falls cascades 75 feet into a rugged, lush gorge. The trees here have never been touched by the axe or cross-cut saw. The narrow, V-shaped gorge below gives refuge to many large eastern hemlock, yellow birch, and yellow poplar. Powerful and remote, Piney Creek Falls is the park's most beautiful waterfall to many vistors.

Perfect circle. Man-made or natural?

Cane Creek Falls and Cascades

Cane Creek has meandered over the hard sandstones of the Cumberland Plateau for over 200 million years. All surface water in the park eventually pours into Cane Creek to form this cool, clear mountain stream. This powerful force has helped shape and carve the rugged landscape around you, and the deep gorge you see below. The water has cut deep into the rock at the falls, and is breaking down this once tall waterfall into a series of rapids, cascades, and falls.

From the trail on the left, just behind the Nature Center, you can find the Cascades on Cane Creek. The Cascades foretell the eventual wearing down of the rocks of Cane Creek Falls, now 85 feet in height. As you view these steep walls, consider the persistent force that has carried away tons of rock to form this {can't decipher}.

There's a small set of steps about dead center.

Another near perfect circle. Again, man-made or natural?

At this point, we needed a potty break and while heading back, we noticed Rio was limping a bit :-(. He'd got a small cut on the pad of his right front foot, so John took him back to the car while McKayla and I went to the suspension bridge over Cane Creek.

She actually succeeded in overcoming her fears and walked the entire length of the bridge this time (proud mommy!), to one end and back. There was a 6 person limit at a time on the bridge and she was strict about adhering to that, so it took us a bit before she was ready. She had rules tho; she had to get out to the middle before she'd allow me to start walking and I couldn't walk fast either. LOL

When we made it to the other end, there was a large family waiting for us to cross before they headed back. While waiting for them to make it across, two older gentleman came up behind us. I told them that if they were in a hurry, they may want to go ahead of us as McKayla was taking it slow. They laughed and said ladies first. Then one of them told McKayla that when they got to the middle, they were going to start jumping up and down. At this point, McKayla's mouth dropped open and she started shaking her head "no". They laughed and said she was lucky that she was a girl b/c if she was a boy, they wouldn't be so nice. LOL

Once McKayla and I had made it back across (with no jumping and her rules applied LOL), she yelled back at the gentleman that they could come across now. Once they made it to the center, they did indeed start jumping a bit and she just shook her head and laughed.

In our exploring of the State Park, we also found the horse stables and plan on doing the trail next time (yay!). It's about a 2ish mile ride for only $25 per person......not bad for riding stables! McKayla and I are extremely excited going horseback riding......John? Not so much but he'll either get over it and ride with us or he'll just have to sit and wait. LOL

We also found their Zipstream "camp" and have talked about going there too next time. We'll see though, I'm not sure how well McKayla would do with the obstacle course or dangling in the sky. We shall see tho LOL

McKayla and Rio were SUPER the entire trip (other than Rio's brief escape). McKayla was ready and raring for each adventure and we actually had to reel her back in several times. She just wanted to keep going and going and going. Rio was good on leash and never pulled once. He was polite as we traversed the trails and was an excellent camp dog; staying at camp while leashed but no one holding the leash.

Oh yes, there will DEFINITELY be a trip back again. John promised McKayla that we'd go back THIS summer so we could go swimming. So yay!

I'll end this 3 day recap of our 3 day adventure with this unique tree I saw on the way there. I just thought it looked neat the way it had grown. ☺

I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as we enjoyed our adventure. ☺

*Rio is great with other dogs and not in the least dog-aggressive, however, he gets very excited to see other dogs as he sees an opportunity to say hi and play......not everyone appreciates his enthusiasm and thinks he's aggressive. We try to explain that he is NOT mean but just happy and still virtually a puppy but they don't believe us. Our BIGGEST concern were 2 dogs, one fairly decent sized and poorly tied to a tree and not knowing HIS temperament, didn't want to tempt fate.


  1. Omigosh!! I'm so glad Rio came back. Totally something I could see Julio doing. How scary!

    1. I think I lost a few lives when I heard him escape and ALL kinds of bad images flitted through my mind. Good thing he's a velcro dog! ☺

  2. Yikes! That would have been terrifying when Rio escaped! I'm glad he came back quickly. I don't blame you for avoiding the other dogs. Even if he didn't act aggressive and something happened everyone always blames the big dog even if a little one started it. :\

    I love all of the photos. It's so beautiful!! I can't wait to do some hiking and camping as soon as the weather improves (rain for two weeks and flooding is not what I call camping weather). I'm looking forward to reading about your next trip, whenever that might be. :D

    1. Yeah, that's the sucky part of having a larger dog. Little dogs bark and growl and it's cute, big dogs do and their "vicious". :-(

      No, rain and flooding is no fun when camping. I hope we can go again soon but it's almost getting TOO hot to go BUT that means perfect weather for swimming. :-D


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