September 5, 2016
It was a gorgeous Labor Day on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST). We set out around midday from the same starting point as the hike Ramona and I took two days ago on the Bridges Camp Gap Trail. This time we went southwest (to the left) on the MST (trail #440). There was a deluge of people swimming at Skinny Dip Falls a ¼ from the trailhead. The falls themselves are gorgeous with emerald green rocks shimmering under the crystal clear water.
It’s not that I don’t care for people, but we were glad to reenter the simple solitude of the MST. For the next 2 miles the trail is slightly uphill. In the distance we could hear Yellowstone Falls, but we did not see a trail, nor did I want to bushwhack with a tiny child.
The MST eventually comes to a bifurcation with the Mountains-to-Sea Access Trail (trail #358B), a .2 mile trail to the Graveyard Fields Loop and Lower Falls.
As soon as we reached Lower Falls the throngs of people returned. We stopped for a while and ate a snack and enjoyed the warm sun. Above the falls a couple was standing perilously close to the edge and near the wet rocks. Every year in the mountains; there are multiple deaths from people falling off of waterfalls. We don’t ever hear about snake deaths, bear attacks or the things that most people worry about. We always hear about waterfall deaths. It’s a shame that people always stand above the falls. Once their feet hit those wet rocks, they can slide to their deaths. Fortunately, these people moved away.
The Graveyard Fields Loop Trail (trail #358) is a leisurely hike, with little to no elevation change. Perhaps this area is so popular, because of the wooden walkways and steps that have been placed on the trail. The 2 mile loop is filled with wildflowers and blackberry bushes.
We had to hike back on the MST to the Jeep and were again glad to find the quietness of the woods.
Total mileage is 7.25 miles.