Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Search for the Stone House along a Raging River

Wednesday-Friday                                                                            Most Recent Posts:
August 1-3, 2018                                                                              Visiting Colin – FINALLY!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park                                             Old Sugarlands, Bears and Good bye to the Mills


After the recent excitments, the blog returns to days past in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in August where it continued to rain for several days.  There were some lovely skies over the campground the few times it was dry while I waited it out.

I had such a case of cabin fever that I actually got tired of reading and resorted to solitaire.



IMG_0234I did get a few quick walks around the campground during breaks between the showers and finally on August 3rd, the day after a hard rain, I headed back to the Old Sugarlands Trail to try to find that Stone House.  Wish you’d been here Sharon.   See previous post on Old Sugarlands if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about.  A  link to it is in the header in purple.

The very beginning of the trail has me a bit worried about what I’ll find when I get down by the river.  But I’ve come prepared with my raincoat and water proof hiking boots.  I’ll take it as I go.


To say the river is UP is an understatement.  Luckily in places it comes up to, but not over the trail.



The river is well out of its banks and I think it’s too wild and rough even for white water kayakers with trees in the middle and such power.



It’s fantastic!  Here are a couple of videos I took.  The First One gives a real sense of being there with a roaring river and the second shows how close I was to the water.  Also notice in the second one all the vegetation around me has been flattened by water during the height of the storm.




I walk all the way up the trail again but my previous post covered it well enough so I’ll skip the largest section.  See that recent post here if you missed all the things to see along this trail

This time. when I hike further, there are some obstacles in the way after I pass the sign saying the rock house is “20 minutes away”.  Whatever that means. The 2nd tree blow down is way too big for me to climb over so I have to go through and under which takes some serious doing but I manage.

Beyond the blow down, I can look below me at the raging river which I’ve been hearing all morning.


No more signs to the rock house and nothing that looks like a side trail.  In fact, I’m not even sure this is the trail as it gets more and more over grown.


The trail sort of reappears and disappears as I go.

There is lots of evidence of the 2016 fire in the form of blackened trees but the undergrowth has returned in a powerful way.  Can’t keep Mother Nature down.


Finally the trail brings me to what is probably usually a small tributary to the river.  I can see the trail continuing on along the other side but there is no possible way across today.  SO if the rock house is over there, I’m going to miss it again.


But I’m sure glad I returned to look for it and got to see this fabulous water at full tilt.



Since I’m forced to turn around here, this is now half way and I hang around for a while to enjoy the sounds – the roar – and power of the water.



Take a look and listen in this video.


On the return trip, I again negotiate the blow down and find my only wildlife of the day other than the wild water.  It sure looks like a Holly Blue rather than a Common Blue to me.


I’m pretty wet when I get back to the river bottom near the car.  It’s been raining and drizzling all day.  I’ve had my hood up some but not in the drizzle.  I like rain but clearly I got wet.


On the way back the river is actually up more which of course is what happens when the water flows downstream for hours and days.   The heavy rains may be over for now but the flooding is not.



On my way home, I’m driving right by the Sugarlands Visitor Center so I decide to stop and see how different the Cataract Falls are from early July when we first saw them.

Can’t help but take a picture of the great tree with its bent knee and feet.

Here is Cataract Falls a month ago on July 2nd from this post if you missed it.

And here they are today almost exactly one month later.   Boy am I glad I’ve been able to stay for so long and see this. 

Staying in one place for a longer time enables me to get really familiar with this place and find all its obvious and many hidden gems.  It’s become my favorite way to travel.

Coming up next is another redo which is yet another fun thing about staying in one park longer.  I can go back to places I particularly enjoyed without feeling pressured that I’ll miss something I have not seen yet.   I have plenty of time!


  1. The river definitely looks ferocious!

  2. WOW...the river is amazing!!! While we did tire of the rain this summer, we didn't tire of the river. It is one of my favorite parts of GSMNP. There are so many trails that take you close and the river never disappoints!! Will you ever find Stone House??

  3. Wow, that is a raging river - what fun for my favorite water lover. You look very pleased. ;) No one in their right mind would be in that river between the raging, the rocks and the trees - way too deadly. That tree at the end may be my favorite tree!

  4. I love the video. I am a water lover, too. This park really does have nice streams and though the rain was a pain I am sure, what a bonus for your files near water. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Water is very powerful as your videos show even your still shots look powerful. Love the tree that is so cool.

  6. That river is really flowing. Adding the videos sure took us there with you. That is one very neat tree with the knee bend and foot. Sorry you missed the stone house again. Now you have a reason to return. We enjoy staying in a place for a longer time, too, so we really get to know the area. Wow! The waterfall is awesome with all the rain. Glad you got to see it.

  7. Every time I see another post, it deepens my regret that we weren't able to connect. Sure hope we can fix that in the future. With TOTAL respect to your writing and attention to detail which I have always loved, let me make a couple of corrections only because they involve names and I want others hiking in the Smokies to know what they are looking for. The trail you were on in search of the rock house is the Old Sugarlands Trail, not Old Smokemont Trail. You had it right in the earlier post, so just simply an oversight this time! The waterfall behind Sugarlands Visitor Center is Cataract Falls, not Cascade Falls. BTW, the first creek crossing near the Rock House is the EASY one! LOL! It's usually a rock hop. I can't imagine what the second one would've looked like the day you visited!

    1. Thanks Sharon. Both careless mistakes which I've fixed although I think Cataract is an odd name for a falls. Amazing that I was there for two months and we couldn't get together in all that time.

  8. Is there really a Stone House or is it just a myth like Bigfoot? I await your detective skills to find out. :c)

  9. Wow, incredible raging water! Worth getting wet to see it.

  10. How exciting to feel that power and breathe that freedom! Some of our favorite discoveries have been in search of something else we never find. It was almost startling to see other people in your last pics. I thought it was just you and me out there :-)))

    1. Jodee, there was no one else on the Old Sugarland Trail. The last pictures were from a stop on my way home. Short trail from the VC to Cataract Falls and thus the people.

  11. Wow, that is some crazy high water. I could feel the energy in your videos. Glad you got out and made it as far as you did. An excuse to return.

  12. That was a serious case of cabin fever for you to get tired of reading! I'm the same way—as much as I love to read, I need a good long hike every day. Especially living in a small space like an RV. That creek is really raging! I know this was an unusually rainy year in the Smokies, but do you happen to know how much above normal the rainfall was? You are an intrepid hiker, for sure.

  13. Love the sound of that river and it was beautiful to watch! Glad you didn't get swept away!!!!


  14. Solitaire and reading-not the worst for rainy days. You were very prepared for that hike...hair clips and all :) Loved the videos. That water was rushing and really up. Great sound and great you got to see the again falls again with so much water!


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