Hike Coordinator – Edwin Case
The weather gods were kind to us, sort of. It had rained entire bathtubs of water for the week prior but we actually drove to the trailhead under a semi-blue sky. However, once we started hiking, it dark clouds floated in and took away the sun.
This was the tail end of Autumn, and several inches of dead bigleaf maple leaves covered the trail, making for a yellow-leaf road of sorts. Kentucky Falls (both the lower and upper falls) were running pretty strong what with the week of rain. At the lower falls, the North Fork Smith River also tumbled over the same ledge as Kentucky Creek and it was pretty cool to see two large falls doing their thing side-by-side.
Kentucky Falls Trail ends where Kentucky Creek runs into the North Fork but we continued on the North Fork Trail which for the most part followed the river, albeit from high up on the forested hillside. The North Fork Trail had been closed because of flood damage from last winter and the trail was in rough shape.
About 3 miles from the end, the clouds delivered on their threat and we finished the hike in a steady rain. The flood damage was obvious close to the river and we had to rock-hop or wade to get to the stout hiker’s bridge to cross the river. Upstream is a brand new bridge but no trail to and from it yet, apparently the old bridge will be decommissioned. This was a shuttle hike so drivers headed up to the Kentucky Falls Trail head to retrieve cars while the rest of us waited in a cold rain. Great hike, though.