Camping the night before wasn’t too bad considering the temperature was hovering near freezing. I woke up a few times during the night to coyotes howling in the distance. I did NOT want to get out of my sleeping bag. My mom slept in the back of the truck haha. That thing is not easy to get out of, but somehow she got out before the rest of us decided to get up. Breakfast was almost muffins, that’s another story, but instead it was granola and clementines. It was a sunny day with a promise of 60 degree weather. Great for hiking but the sunshine is not so welcome for waterfall photos.
Our hike for the day was Stepp Creek Falls. Stepp Creek Falls is located near Nail off of Union Grove Road/FR#1227. The directions in Tim Ernst’s book were spot on so it was really easy to get to and a short drive off of the pavement. The trail starts on an old logging road and then heads off trail down into the hollow. We bushwhacked our way downhill to the creek. Once down at the creek we noticed flagging tape in the trees leading our way. I think it was the most flagged trail I have ever been on. There was flagging tape maybe every 60ft or so!
Getting to the falls did not take long. Stepp Creek Falls is actually two waterfalls. When it’s sunny, both are difficult to shoot. We started at the lower falls and were welcomed by a snake coming out to get some sun. He seemed pretty harmless. Just looking it up now it looks like it’s an Eastern Gartersnake. I just wanted his pic because he looked like the Loch Ness Monster :-).
On this sunny day, the lower falls was much easier to get a photo of that I am somewhat pleased with. The upper falls…not so much…but I posted it nonetheless. Looking back on this hike, I wish I would have taken a few images (a bad typo is typing “inmates” instead of “images”) from the trail above the lower falls. Next time–on a cloudy day! The ticks were already coming out at this time. I brushed a few off when we got back up to the truck, luckily with none attached.
We had one stop to make before heading to our rental cabin for the night–the Low Gap Cafe. They are under new ownership, completely converted into a restaurant. Their menu is fantastic and the food is even better. If you’re down in the area, make every effort to stop here (along with the Ozark Cafe of course!). After stuffing our faces we headed to the rental cabin near the Boxley Valley. The cabin was spacious with 2 bedrooms a loft and large bathrooms. Although I liked waking up in the forest on this day, I was looking forward to a comfy bed.