Kurt and I drove though the tunnel once again - back into Kentucky. This time we drove up Pinnacle Overlook. From that point you could see all three states in one shot. The mountain was roughly 1000ft higher than the surrounding mountains and provided a fantastic view of the entire Gap area.
Once we followed the Tourists' path around
the falls, it turned out to be one of the best waterfalls either of us
had ever seen; over 65 feet high and 100 feet wide. We read about the
moonbow the river is capable of producing; Cumberland Falls is only one
of two places in the world were you can see a rainbow from moonlight regularly.
The only other place is Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We tried out all the
different Visitors' Observation Points and decided they weren't good enough.
We noticed fishermen down on the rocks (about 50 feet below us) right
near the falls - we both vowed to get there. Kurt and I walked downstream
to the sand beach along the river and followed the bank back up to the
waterfall. We had to climb over boulders the entire way - in flip-flops.
The rocks were anywhere between bowling balls and Jeeps in size. It was
hard work - 100% humidity from all the mist. After about 25 minutes we
got to the fishermen - in fact one rock closer to the falls than they
were. After basking in our glory - we asked the fishermen how they got
there. We followed their example and climbed straight up to the Visitor
Outlook. We carefully jumped the rail between groups of passing tourists.
No one spotted us or suspected a thing - so we booked it on outta there.
First of all, the road leading to the park was extremely
difficult and once we did find the park, we were the only people there.
The view of the arch was definitely worth the struggle, however. The span
was huge and sprawling just across the valley from our lookout point.
In our glow from the success of the waterfall journey, Kurt and I thought
we needed to find our way to a point under that arch. This time we were
more sensible and put on hiking shoes. We set out on (down) a somewhat
challenging path and found some cool overhangs and cliffs. The path led
us through a very intensely wooded area - almost like a rain forest. Most
of the fauna either had huge waxy leaves or was some sort of fern. There
was a lot of humidity and birds but no people, not even any signs of human
life other than the marked trail. Unfortunately we never found the arch
- we hiked over 1.5 miles before we turned around. We did find a small
arch but not the one we wanted to see. We were too deep on the valley
floor to get our bearings in relationship with the 'real' arch. It was
getting a little dark so we had to turn around. I was a little scared
when we were trying to make it back to where we dropped in. The area didn't
look very familiar and the path was non existent at that point; I was
worried we would never see the Jeep again. Climbing out was extremely
tough and required a team effort at some points. The ability to jump between
rock outcrops and do pull-ups was required. We finally got back to the
Jeep - absolutely soaked in sweat once again. We got back on the road
and headed to the town of Somerset, KY. Considering it's day 8 and no
Mexican food had yet been consumed (Taco Bell doesn't count) I needed
a Mexican dinner. We found a joint right on the main strip through town.
The restaurant was very similar to our local El Cazador restaurant. The
waiters could barely speak English and the place had strikingly similar
menus. The restaurant was dirtier though - chips on the floor and bad
bathrooms. It was odd that no beer or margaritas were available. The food
was ready in 2 minutes (like El Caz) and they used the exact same cheese
and sauces (except salsa). Never the less, I had gotten my Mexican fix
and I was pleased.