Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rest Stop

History can be felt with every step on a hike of a few hundred feet.
Hidden from view of motorists on a curvy, mountain road, a waterfalls flows in relative obscurity about 200 yards up a trail. The path is mostly covered in wet leaves along its 3-foot width and bordered by a steep embankment on one side and a without-mercy, downhill slope on the other.
In 1777, English explorer William Bartram hiked a portion of the southeastern United States in search of plant species. Remaining portions of his trail remain popular today.
Along Georgia's northeast border between South Carolina and North Carolina, narrow and well-worn paths draw thousands of visitors. Many stop after climbing to the top of a forested ridge.
There, they find Becky Branch Falls, which appears virtually undisturbed, creating moments to wonder if Bartram collected plant species along the banks of Becky Branch.
Just a few miles from a portion of the better-known Appalachian Trail, remaining parts of the Bartram Trail wind through national forests in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and beyond.
Becky Branch Falls is a narrow and delicate waterfalls, cascading more than 50 feet in a corridor of towering trees that create a shady environment except for occasional rays of sunlight. A small bridge has been erected at the base of the waterfalls, creating a healthy incentive to stop.
Today, the collection of plant species is prohibited. But there are no restrictions on gathering photographs for those back home.
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