Monday morning, our last full day, Daniel had planned a more intense hike for himself (Signal Point to Edwards Point). With only the one hike under our belts so far, I was actually up for more. So that morning, we did a little research and found a shorter hike just north of Chattanooga that sounded doable for the three of us. I regret this decision, but how was I to know what was waiting for me on the trail?
After a pretty drive through a little town called Soddy-Daisy, we arrived at the trailhead and to our delight found it empty.
This is where I stopped taking pictures on this hike.
After absorbing the beauty of this little waterfall and crossing it successfully, we descended down to the Lower Loop. During our descent we unfortunately missed a switchback due to an ambiguous marking, and went about half a mile off trail. While off trail, I stepped wrong on a rock. My ankle twisted and gave out below me with a loud pop, and an intense blinding rush of pain. I screamed and collapsed onto the trail sobbing. Daniel and Wyatt came running back in a panic, and tried to console me while the initial shock of what turned out to be a bad sprain slowly lessened. Since we were half way through the hike and way off trail, we had no choice but to continue. I found a stick for support and cried and cursed as we crossed downed trees, brush, boulders and the lower part of the waterfall at the speed of drying paint, then turned around and did it all over again. After what seemed like forever, we finally found the trail and made it back to easier ground. At this point, I was completely spent, and the swelling was setting in. Still, I demanded Daniel take a few shots of the beautiful river running next to us, and the deep blue pools I would have loved to have taken some time to enjoy on any other day.
Goodbye, pretty river. May I never set foot near you again.
Stick – if you’re reading this – thank you for being there for me, I wouldn’t have made it without you.