second hike: whitaker's point
a waterfall just a trickle this time of year
If our first hike on the Buffalo National River was a casual, peaceful walk perfect following a five hour car ride, our second hike was perfect after a good night's rest (lights were out at 8pm...normal for our little boy, but not the rest of the family!). Ten hours of sleep is a very good thing.
It's a wonder anyone finds Whitaker's Point trail. Although known to be located on Cave Mountain Road there was not ONE sign that signaled such a road. I have to give credit to our cabin hosts, though, which included details and landmarks for finding the road. If only we had left the cabin that morning WITH those details. Needless to say we drove the scenic route to find our scenic trail.
The Lost Valley trail is, as described in the valley, and Whitaker's Point was on the mountain. The trail was not hospitable and graveled, but rocky, craggy and steep. No picturesque stone steps strategically placed for the hiker, but a blanket of leaves naturally strewn making the hiker vigilant so she doesn't trip!
The great thing about this hike is you know the end point, Whitaker's Point. So there is anticipation the entire walk of what is next and how long will it be until we get that amazing view. The idea was to time it just right to enjoy a simple lunch near the point and that's exactly what we did. The day was quite windy, so my idea of playing cards at that location was nullified, but actually added to the drama of being so high and so open. We didn't go out very far on that large crag, needless to say. (We did see another hiker go out to the very tip and sit down. The kids were shocked and thought it foolish!)
This hike was just three miles, but because of the type of trail it required most of our energy and took four hours round trip. The morning was quite cool, so we were bundled in fleece, gloves and hats, but once we neared noon and were walking in the sun we had to start stripping our layers.
Being high on the mountain we were able to enjoy the pine trees, and I just love that greenery. We don't have swaths of these locally it was nice to be in that environment for hours.
This was a hike like none other we've done. I could liken the scenery to the Devil's Head trail in Colorado we enjoyed with cousins a few years ago, although it is so popular that the trail was smooth and easy. Whitaker's Point is specifically located in the wilderness and it felt like it. Minimal signage and people. We really were in the middle of nowhere.
Jesse and I were specifically proud of the children. Strong and healthy, they were quite the troopers on this strenuous trail. And since they did so well we planned on a four mile river side trail for our final venture.