THE CUMBERLAND PLATEAU
Eclectic Views from Atop a Mountain
Virgin Falls impressed the heck out of me for many reasons. The hike in was steep and downhill, passing other waterfalls. Here is another Virgin Falls hike. By the way, the videos don't show the four mile steep uphill trek back, but fit 70-year-olds have done it. I had heard of Virgin Falls all my life, and assumed it to be a relative trickle like many of the other waterfalls on the mountain. We just don't have large rivers. But it was big and roaring. The return journey, however, was what burned it into my mind. Another hiker had had a serious accident, and I got lost trying to find a cell phone signal. This was in 2006, and I did not own a GPS. Imagine being lost on the side of a mountain with a background sound only from rushing water. Hard to describe, but a few adjectives come to mind. Overpowering and extreme for two, I guess. I sure didn't feel like I belonged there. That side of the mountain faces the west, and the sun was beginning to cast a red color that looked surreal. I did get out before dark, and managed to stay somewhat composed until safety allowed me the luxury of a panic attack. I learned that cell phones do not do emergencies well if the signal is weak and spotty. Dial 911, and they start transmitting, rapidly burning up their batteries. You can guess what my family gave me the following Christmas. One of the many gifts was, of course, a GPS for hikers. I'd love to use one to record a full track of the Virgin Falls trail. No matter what the maps say, I'm sure the return journey must be twenty miles.