The view from my perch on the mountain

Dismal Falls

Also known as Falls of Dismal (and I have no idea where the name comes from) is a popular swimming hole located in the Giles County section of the Jefferson National Forest.


My brother in law, the world famous Fish Hook, recently discovered this place and graciously showed me how to find it today. We even took the women folk along but made them sit in the back seat where their cackling wouldn’t distract us men folk from the serious business of getting lost in the woods…….I mean exploration and discovery.


Dismal Creek is a small creek with it’s headwaters forming along the Appalachian Trail as it heads down Sugar Run Mountain. Much wider and faster during the spring and early summer, most of the rock ledges were exposed and dry today. From the squeals of the girls tip toeing around in the pool I can assume that the water was COLD!


Neither of us being over burdened with common sense, Fish Hook and I took the opportunity to climb the falls and generally give our wives cause to wonder how long it would be before one or both of us fell off and would have to lay shivering in the pool at the bottom until the rescue helicopters came to haul us out.


No, that’s not Sasquatch, that’s Fish hook strolling along the top of the falls, doing a very good job of disguising the fact that he nearly killed himself climbing up there. I know this to be a fact because I climbed up there a few minutes earlier and almost died doing it. The fact that I have to use a trekking pole to maintain my balance on flat ground and also had a camera bag slung over my shoulder while climbing didn’t help much.


Actually, the climb back down was even more dangerous as evidenced by the vultures circling overhead by the time I hit bottom…..I mean completed my descent.


By the time Fish Hook managed to climb back down there were 2 vultures circling overhead so we decided it was time to go find a place to buy ice cream.


This is the path back up to where we left the truck. It was a little tricky climbing down because of loose rock and exposed tree roots. This was a moderate descent on a trail approximately 100 yards long. On the way back up again the trail was now 5000 yards long and the elevation had increased by at least 15,000 feet. Both Fish Hook and I were gasping for breath by the time we finally reached the road.

Ahem: I have been informed by SHE WHO SHALL BE OBEYED, THE BOSS, my better half (pick whichever ones suits you) that Dismal Creek got it’s name when one of Gen. Jubal Anderson Early’s troops, camped along it’s banks during the American Civil War, remarked “This creek sure is dismal!”  The name stuck.


4 responses

  1. Sue Mac

    Hi Chip
    What a beautiful place, would love to see it after you had some good rain
    Beautiful pic’s , glad you and Fish Hook got down in one piece
    Take care

    September 6, 2010 at 11:09 PM

  2. Tricia

    What a stunning place … how could he have called it dismal??? Glad you made all the climbs safely and had time to take pics.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:10 AM

  3. Fizz

    Well there you go… not only do you know how it got it’s name, you also got a history lesson!

    September 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    • Rocket Man

      Even better, I learned something and, contrary to popular belief, my head did not explode……yet.

      September 7, 2010 at 3:23 PM

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