TOR and I admired the statue for a minute or two, then set off with Gracie along the 1.7 mile Black Creek Trail (so named because the creek was called Black Creek before Noccalula jumped), enjoying the greenery, the shade, and glimpses of the creek as we walked. We considered adding the Gorge Trail, which takes you behind the falls, but decided it was way too steep and slippery, and Gracie might not be able to handle it. We chatted a moment or two with a woman who took a break from jogging and warned us not to veer off on any side trails if we didn’t have a map. We took her advice and returned to the parking lot.

We have the Jack’s lunch menu practically memorized because, in many of the towns we’ve visited, it’s the only reliable, safe practices drive-thru, with most “real” local restaurants (usually  our favorites) remaining closed.  On this day, I opted for a chicken sandwich and TOR chose her usual BLT. She’s always content if either a BLT or pimento cheese is available. The day was too hot for eating in the car, so we returned to that first parking lot and found an empty, shaded picnic pavilion outside the park gates. The employee who’d been hosing it down (a good sign) explained that the tall metal spikes sticking up on all the rafters were supposed to keep birds from settling in. “But ,” he added, “they just roost between the spikes.” We thought it wise to choose a table with no obvious bird roosts above it and enjoyed our lunch.

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