KEY SKILL: CLIFF JUMPING
Do not swim under waterfalls. Rocks often come crashing down.
If you get swept downriver, float onto your back with feet up
and pointing downstream. Assume whitewater swim position (nose and toes above water) and stroke hard to avoid the drown-hazard of strainers (e.g., submerged trees).
Test depth before jumping. Best way?
Get in. You’ll need 15 feet of water for safe landings. And don’t even think about diving
Protect your feet. Wear snug-fitting sandals that protect against sharp rocks and provide grip on slippery banks.
Before there were GU packets, hikers like Muir foraged trailside for pick-me-ups. The Cherokee forest offers a bounty of natural sweets—if you know when and where to look. In May and June, ripe mulberries abound from Big Bend to Childers Creek; search the same spots for blackberries in July. And dig the Jerusalem artichoke’s potatolike tuber in mid-September. Tip: Keep berries fresh by storing them in unsealed containers out of the sun.
Got an extra day? The 6.4-mile out-and-back up the Coker Creek Trail hits a string of waterfalls and pools, perfect for a cooling dip on a hot day. Break a sweat on the sometimes steep hike, then cool off with a banzai plunge into the first pool .5 mile in. See safety tips above, keep hiking (and dipping), and you’ll be a swimming-hole connoisseur by the day’s end.