May 3, 2001
There really exists a second great trail to Kentucky Falls, always a superb spring destination.
On May 3, ten of us split into two groups and hiked to the Falls from separate trailheads,
exchanging keys and anecdotes somewhere along the way. The newer North Fork of the Smith River
(NFSR) trailhead begins approximately 10 miles from the traditional trailhead. The NFSR trail
wends its way gently uphill 6½ miles to the Falls, mostly along or high above the North Fork.
A few old growth giants, graceful alders stretching skyward, a rushing river with pools and cascades,
plus the usual wood land charmers, dicentra and false Solomon’s Seal, added variety and interest
to the hike. A few of us did this hike a week earlier and also enjoyed plenty of pink fawn lilies,
fairy lanterns, trilliums, goldback and maidenhair ferns. Taking the NFSR trail still requires
some spirit of adventure as the Forest Service hasn’t completed or polished the path as yet.
A little dexterity is needed in fording a few creeks and one minor landslide, and then there’s
the 100 foot log about 20 feet above the river! Showing the right amount of chutzpah to complete
the 8½ mile trip were John & Jan Jacobsen, Chuck & Sandy Reul, Jim Babson,
Melissa Richmond, Terra Conners and trip leaders Jim & Melody Clarkson.