Rugged Places

Saturday we decided to tackle a hiking trail to a waterfall. After two years of hiking “easy” trails, we chose a harder one.

We got to the park grabbed our gear and headed for the trailhead the dogs eager to be on our way. Towering trees stretched for the sky, crunchy leaves crackled underfoot as birds sang overhead.

The parking lot had been full, but the trail was empty. The word “rugged” painted on the sign under the sign that point out the overlook trail and the one that would take us down to the riverbed. The grade of the path grew steep as it meandered down the hillside narrowing and widening, carved like a ‘s’ into the hill. Finally, after climbing down several large rough-hewn steps we stepped onto the river bed.


Not much to look at after our climb, we headed up the river in search of what we had come here to see. Charlotte plunged into the shallow water with Faith on her heels. With little effort, they bounded up giant boulders to follow the trail, as we scrambled after them. For a time we hiked on dry land, passing wildflowers growing out of the crags in the rocks. Ducking under large trunks that have slid down the hillside.

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The trail ends, and we cross the stream, carefully picking our way over moss-covered, water-smoothed river rock. Charlotte hops through the water all four feet clearing the water and sending sparkling droplets dancing through the air. Other hikers laugh at her border collie antics. Not to be outdone Faith prances very ladylike across the water as if to say this is how you do it, not noticing the fish Charlotte saw.

Tennessee Waterfalls

A mini waterfall cascaded by as we split up Mr. Cottage and Faith to take the steeper trail while Brianna and I wade through thigh-deep water, Charlotte striking out as if she has always done this fearlessly following us. Just as we round the corner and climb out onto the boulders again we look up to see the falls, spilling over the cliff, only to fall again until it comes to a placid pool ringed in by large boulders.

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Fellow trekkers lounge taking in the beauty of this place. An air of accomplishment fills the air and total peace. The roar of the water covers the sound of the birds far above, the dogs add their howls to the cacophony of sounds.


Every time I’m near a waterfall I am amazed by the refreshing almost healing effect they have as you sit beneath the spray, the weariness of the journey melts away, the worries lay discarded like shoes on the rocks, the scrapes and bruises wash away – forgotten-, the burdens you carried up here become lighter as you sit and breathe in the beauty of His creation.

Tennessee Waterfalls

The hardest paths, lead to beautiful places- they force you to discover the places you are lacking, to take each step having faith that the end of the journey is worth the pain of the scrapes. It makes you realize how strong you are and challenges you to go further.

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border collies

Life can be like this too, we are traveling a rugged path, we are tired and bruised. With each rock we climb, another takes its place. For every step, we take 10 more face us. Our legs grow tired, our arms weary. So often we miss the beauty of this rugged place. The wildflowers in the crags. We miss the life as we labor under our burdens. Some grow tired and give up- so close to the destination and yet they will never see it, never experience the beauty of the reward. They can never lay down their burden shedding them on the rocks and leap into the cool waters -His embrace-. Keep trekking, keep moving, the destination is just around the corner, keep laboring- and leap into His arms.


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