We drove through the city of Southside and then to the north side of Gadsden. Simple logic would suggest that, driving along Noccalula Road and encountering a large sign that says “Noccalula Falls Park,” you could assume you’d reached your destination. We pulled in at the sign and parked up close to the park office. I had determined in my online, pre-road-trip research that pets on leashes were welcome on the Black Creek Trail that would take us to the falls, so I was surprised to see a sign outside the office announcing that no pets were allowed in the park.

TOR put on her mask, grabbed her hand sanitizer, hopped out of my little red Buick, and marched into the office to investigate while I walked Gracie on a grassy area outside the park gates. “Guess what?” said TOR when she returned. “The falls are not in the park.” We had to turn left back onto the road, go up a mile or so, past the Jack’s, and turn left again. The falls were up there, right by the wedding chapel, and yes, Gracie could walk with us on the Black Creek Trail.

We’d had enough rain recently that the falls were falling loudly enough to hear them when we got out of the car in the second parking lot.  I’d read that, sometimes, in dry weather, Noccalula Falls is only a trickle.  Not today–plenty of greenish-white water rushing beautifully and noisily down over the rocks when we crossed the footbridge and reached the railing next to the bronze sculpture of Princess Noccalula.

I think it would be a great idea if every park and even every city street across the country ordered and installed signs like this one near Black Creek Trail.

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