We slept in this Saturday morning (1/19/13) for some much well deserved rest from a busy stressful week from work and life. We left around 8:30a.m. for our next hiking and waterfall adventure. We stopped for our morning food fuel at McDonald's for a fun breakfast to help us make it on the trail. One more stop for vehicle fuel then onto the open highway to our adventure destination. With my camera ready in my hands to take pics riding in the shotgun seat, Kellie exits I-540 East turning left at the Ozark off ramp to head onto State Hwy 23 known as the Pig Trail. This highway is popular among motorcyclists because of the many sweeping curves and the beautiful countryside area. You will see some great old rustic barns still standing and others soon to collapse back to their original structural foundation.
Next Kellie turns onto State Hwy 16/21 heading North. This highway is rich in beautiful picturesque scenery. Old rustic barns are plentiful with large pastures and fences to be viewed by the sightseer or avid camera adventurist.
As we pass by the small town community of Fallsville there is now a little over 6 miles to our primary destination - Glory Hole waterfall. You will pass a red barn on the left that has a large 'E" on the side of it. Go 1/2 mile pass the barn and on the left you will see an old house/shack with a fenced gate that displays, No Trespassing. Directly across the highway you will see a dirt road. Pull into this area just off the road. The path to the waterfall begins here. This hike is a two mile round trip and is rated moderate. You will find yourself on an old jeep trail. The trail begins to go downhill and crosses a narrow water crossing. Soon on the left of the trail with ample rainfall you will see a nice waterfall that you can walk behind. Back on the trail with a slight downward slope you will across a larger water crossing that is easy to cross with the natural path of the rocks. This a nice stream that runs into Dismal creek. Dismal creek is the source of the water flow for Glory Hole waterfall. At this point the trail takes a turn to the left and you will see Dismal creek that runs to the left of the trail. You will come up to a large unique rock formation that looks like a turtle's back. Look over the edge to the left and you will Glory Hole. It is a 4' almost perfectly round hole that has over the course of thousands of years been drilled by the flow of water from Dismal creek. It is rated by many one of the most unique waterfalls in the country.
You can see that this is a unique sight to see. The creek was not flowing well on this day. There had been some recent storm action in Newton County however not in this particular area. I was hoping for more water, however it was a beautiful day and I wanted Kellie to see it for the first time. The turtle back rock formation and the rock ledge area are actually the top of a 25' cavern where you see the waterfall. Next you follow the trail to the left and cross over a water runoff area stepping on the rocks and pickup the trail again descending downward. Before turning back briefly to the left you encounter large boulders. These boulders are perfect for resting or a picnic lunch. Although the water was not flowing in abundance, to look upward through the waterfall and see the sky is an incredible sight to see. After Kellie forcing me to leave (not really but almost), I am always trying to take that perfect pic never taken before wherever we might be.
The trail going back to the vehicle is an almost constant incline not steep but definitely a thigh burner at times. Funny story - we are getting close to the end of the trail and coming up on a large water hole on the trail. I told Kellie you might want to walk around it over here with me because that is narrow and you might slip. Well you guessed it, as I was walking around the water hole Kellie was maneuvering herself along a narrow path next to the water hole. Kellie decided to grab hold of a small tree to balance herself and she slipped and her knee and hiking boot met the waterhole. She laughed first and then I laughed. For Kellie, it was a partly muddy leg and hiking boot. For Kirk, I got a "told you so" on Kellie. This was turning out to be a great day - ha. We counted 33 people from the beginning of the trail to the end of the trail. It's a popular destination to visit in Newton County.
Once in the vehicle Kellie says let's go to Boxley Valley since we are so close. I love when she says that. We travel North on State Hwy 16/21 which becomes State Hwy 21 North. Boxely is only 20 miles away from Glory Hole waterfall. Of course we know what you can see at Boxley Valley, elk and more beautiful scenery. We saw numerous elk stragglers, a couple of small elk herds and a large herd of approximately 40 elk. The drive through Boxley Valley is always a breath of fresh natural air. The beauty of Boxley Valley is always a great time for anyone that loves the outdoors and wants to view the creation of our God that we serve and love so MUCH.