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Chapter 7 - (3.24.18) Go Hard & Grow Strong – Raven Cliff Falls & Dukes Creek Falls

Another two in one. Prior to heading out to this ch8se, I took great care to prepare the ch8sers for the adventure ahead. Because I had done this route several times, I knew first-hand what to expect, and I knew the importance of preparing the ladies, for what would prove to be the most challenging ch8se so far. Wear your hiking boots, bring your poles, dress in layers, pack snacks and hydration, pack patients, and be prepared, were the routine reminders shared regularly, prior to the ch8se. This time; however, in addition to all of those tips, warning the ladies that the route was both strenuous, challenging, and long was on repeat with many of the posts leading to the ch8se. Not only did I share how difficult, and how long the ch8se was, there was also a reminder of the fact that we were doing two ch8ses, two waterfalls, in one day.

The Raven Cliff ch8se proved as challenging as promised. The trail was filled with exposed roots, narrow passages, and elevation, as shared in multiple posts, and mentioned in the talk before the walk. The trail and the force of the waterfall at Raven cliff falls were not compatible. After such a strenuous, and long trek, Mother nature shares a sprinkle at the base of the falls, which was by far the biggest disappointment of any ch8se to date. Several of the ladies, including myself, did climb to the actual cliff, where the waterfalls originated, and took in the beauty of the two falls there, between the cliff. This was beautiful; however, by the time we got to that point, we were all exhausted, and disappointed by the small size of the fall. Mother nature and I had a conversation during the trek; however, she clearly didn’t give two flying frogs what I wanted, and gave us what she had. Not much I could do there. I will say the ladies knocked off some miles from the Harriet’s Great Escape, Harriet’s 100 mile challenge, and got a great work out, amongst a super sister circle.

I didn’t forget about the falls at the falls, no worries. See, there are two rather daring, more adventurous two in the group that were determined to get closer into the bottom waterfall, the spit fall, we shall call it. Maybe I failed to mention; however, during this ch8se we were in and out of the sprinkle, and in and out of the rain, not bad, just a few spits here and there. So the ground was muddy, and the rocks were slippery. Wait, before we go there, let me back up and tell you about your girl Mary Lou. She was on something extra. This was here third trek to Raven, and for some reason, she lost focus, and led a handful of ch8sers through a muddy space, with a fallen tree. During the off path trek, she had the nerve to say, “I don’t remember this muddy patch, and this tree must have fallen recently….hummmph.” How ‘bout, just as she got the words out of her mouth, she looked up to see she had missed the trail, and saw the trail she should have been on, that the other trekkers had taken. Of course, this is after she and several trekkers that followed her, went stomping through the mud, and taking tricky steps over the fallen tree. Needless to say the adventure never ends.

Ok, so back to the falls at the falls. About those two adventurous, fearless, daring souls. So what had happened was, one of the trekkers, well they both saw an opportunity to get underneath, up close and personal with the waterfall. You see, one had taken this path before, and knew it was doable. The other, was just daring and saw the perfect opportunity to embrace the falls, and snatch a bomb picture along the way. Making it to the little waterfall, without falling was the biggest challenge, getting closer should be a piece of, wait a minute, she just slipped, cheese cake. Oh, no, are you ok? I hope so, cause girl, I just caught it all on camera. See, I’ve done this one before, and just because you fail, don’t mean I will, I didn’t the last time. Well, ain’t that about a busted butt, slipper rock foolishness. Yep, just as the first one, the second one slid right into the water as well. Ya already wet, g’wone on and pose for the pic. So she did. These two earned the lesson for the others, and discouraged anyone else from even trying, not that they were anyway. They had truly had enough of that entire trek by then.

So now we have all gathered ourselves, had our snacks, and hydration, and are excited to return to our cars, while contemplating whether or not to tackle the second waterfall, which was literally one mile around the corner. Prior to heading to Dukes Creek Falls, we stopped at the Smithgall Woods Conservation area to purchase our patches and medallions. Unfortunately, Raven Cliff and Dukes Creek is not a part of the state park, and does not have patches. We still purchased items to remember the trek, not that we needed any help remembering at all.

Dukes Creek falls provided a picturesque view, immediately at the parking lot, of the mountains in front of us. The view warranted numerous selfies, and enlisted other visitors as our photographer. We returned the favor, of course, as always, it’s easier that way. Once all of the selfies and pictures were done, we headed out to a much easier trail, which lead us to the most spectacular waterfalls. Raven was hard and disappointing, as far as the waterfalls; however, Dukes, I believe, made up for it all. Dukes Creek is beautiful. There were two sections, two cascading falls, and pure awesomeness. We embraced the majesty of the falls, inhaled the beauty of Mother Nature, took more selfies, and back to the cars we went.

Bigg Daddy’s, again, with Brad and the gang is where we ended up. Brad took care of us royally as he did before, and each of us left full and refreshed.

This was a long day; however, I count it a success and a true testament of black girl magic!

Until we ch8se again…..stay tuned.

Deborah McGlawn


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