A two-night break at Hercules Glades Wilderness with a visit to ‘Twin Falls’ hollow and the bluffs.
Oh look, it’s me at a trailhead. There’s a surprise.
One night and six miles, was my total outdoors activity so far for May. I was torn between putting in some miles to get my monthly total up to twenty, or just lounging around in the woods. I could have gone to Piney Creek again and sat by the lake — very tempting — but I decided to head back to Hercules Glades (I’m still not venturing far afield during our period of self-isolation, though that may have to change). I had the option of vegetating in the woods, or if I decided to get in a few miles, I could always hike down to the bluffs. I was setting out after work, which meant a late-ish start. I arrived at the trail-head just before five pm, so I expected to be arriving at my now regular camping spot on Twin Falls Creek, sometime between seven and eight.
We’ve been having a lot of rain recently so I was expecting the trail to be very wet. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad at all. I made good time on the trail and was soon bushwhacking the 250 odd yards to my campsite for the night, arriving just before seven pm. I had just enough time to collect water and set up camp before it got dark. I had a new, much longer, light string, which worked quite well, strung between the trees under the tarp, which I put up but didn’t bother to set. The lights lit up the area all around my hammock. Not very stealthy, but quite homely. I cooked (heated) dinner on my wood stove, and spent the remainder of the evening reading. Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to bring a book out with me, but I did.
Camped Near ‘Twin Falls Creek’
I had a lazy morning lounging around, and I’ll admit I am really enjoying my REI Flexlite Air chair. No more kneeling and sitting on the ground while I’m cooking and eating, plus I can move it into, or out of the sunshine to suit my needs. It’s another luxury item I wish I’d bought a long time ago.
I debated whether to stay put, bushwhack and explore further down the creek to where it joins Mores Branch, or hike down to the bluffs. Hiking down to the bluffs would add nine miles in total to my weekend’s hike, and so just get me over my monthly 20-mile backpacking target. In the end, I decided to head on down to the bluffs. I’d broke camp and was on my way by one pm. The only disadvantage of going to the bluffs is that there is no water, so I had to load up and hike with an extra gallon of water (8lbs).
Unfortunately, I’d run out of bug spray. It was my own fault, I didn’t check the container closely before leaving. It has a wrap-around label that stops you from seeing how much is left. Anyway, I had half a mile plus of bushwhacking to look forward to and no bug spray to deter the ticks. Oh well!
Back at the bluffs
I was expecting to arrive at the bluffs at around four pm. I surprised myself, and hiked the three-plus miles, including over half a mile of slow bushwhacking in just under two hours. That left me plenty of time to set up camp, enjoy the view, and sit in the sun.
The big question was, would there be a decent sunset?
Sunset from the bluffs
Camped at the top of the bluffs
The only problem with camping here is that there is no water. Unless you count Beaver Creek, 200ft (vertically) away.
If you look carefully at the tarp you can see my new lights strung along beneath it.
In the woods
It is a nothing picture. You need to be there, listening to the birds, hearing and feeling the breeze, smelling the woodsy smells, and enjoying the warm sunshine on your skin.
Ready to go
I was planning on a nice leisurely lunch break down at ‘Twin Falls Creek’ near where I’d camped on Friday night, so I wanted to be on the trail before midday. If I made the same time as I did getting here, I’d be stopping for lunch around two pm.
As it happened I was ready to be on my way by 11:30. I made a short diversion for a final look out over the bluffs before getting out the compass and bushwhacking due east to the trail. I was going to be a bit more observant this time and try not to cross the trail without seeing it!
You’d think… that the trail went left here. Nope. It disappears into the bushes on the right (this picture is looking west), I’d just emerged from said bushes.
The brush is growing and views are limited
Ten years ago, when we first hiked this trail, the views were a lot better.
Once again I made reasonable time on the trail (for me), arriving at my selected lunch spot shortly before two pm. There’s a nice set of low falls here, and from the top of them it looked like the pool would be large enough to bathe in. It wasn’t really, but it was nice and refreshing, and worth the tortuous route I had to take to get down to the pool. But I jump ahead of myself. Before I tried out the pool I heated up some water for my noodles and filtered a load to drink. I’d run out of water not long after leaving the bluffs, so I was ready for a drink.
All in all I spent around an hour lounging around and soaking up the views of the creek.
Small falls on ‘Twin Falls Creek’
According to the GPS these are only 260 yards from the trail. It seems like a lot further when you bushwhack your way here. The pool looked very inviting and I did try it out, but it wasn’t as big or deep as it looked. I should have stopped at the Twin Falls if I wanted a good bath, but the sides of the hollow there are so steep so it gets little sun. I think it was a lot prettier (and quieter) here.