I sit in the dappled sunlight on the little deck off the bedroom of our cabin at Cumberland Falls for a last post before heading to Mammoth Caves National Park a few hours west of here. Yesterday after the in-laws left we took a little 2.3 mile hike to Eagle Falls (including the bottom and the top of the falls) and the surrounding area. I am not whining or a wimp--really--but it was the weirdest hike I've ever taken.
First we went from the river at the top of Cumberland Falls all the way up to the ridge line on the eastern side of the river. Then we went all the way down to the river again--but this time at the bottom of the falls (also the bottom of Eagle Falls). Then we went up to the top of Eagle Falls, then up to the top of another ridge line, then down into a valley between ridges, then back up to the original ridge line, THEN, finally, back down to the river at the top of the falls. It was so steep for much of it that the trail had stairs--either rock, wood or metal--built into it.
We didn't see any black bears (in spite of the warning signs posted everywhere), nor did we see any other wildlife--not even a squirrel. Do you think they have all been eaten by the locals?
As with any good trail there were periodic trail markers painted onto the trees to let you know you were still on the right path. However when we got back down to the river by Eagle Falls, the trail sign was painted on the boulders in a follow-the-yellow-brick-road kind of way. I figured it was enough to hear the noise of the falls and follow it, but I guess a little reinforcement never hurts.
It was a gorgeous trail, I'm really glad we did it, but wow was it a tough 2.3 miles! The beer back at the cabin was especially welcome.