Sept. 16, 2014 – Also known as the CCC Trail, this 1.6 mile loop circles Pinnacle Lake, passes by Pinnacle Dam and offers breathtaking views of Table Rock.
You can access the trail from a few different points in the park, but I started from the side of the boat house across from the Nature Center. It’s really not a difficult trail, but there are steps and uphill inclines. It was shady most of the way and I was thankful for that since it was a pretty warm day. I also always love natural mossy trees and rocks, so this was a great perk for me. The park info says it should take an hour to complete. I guess that’s true if you just set out and keep walking with no breaks, but it took me over 3 hours because I kept stopping and soaking in the scenery for a while.
With incentives to stop and ponder beauty like this, why be in a hurry?
The trail is well marked with purple indicators on the trees.
And the trees themselves were major attractions for me. Stepping through this pair, I giggled because it seemed like they were holding hands, so I excused myself to them.
When I saw this bench coming up around the bend, I knew that would be a nice “set for a spell” site.
But I was not prepared for the breathtaking view of Table Rock from here. I don’t know how long I sat here, but I let my mind wander through time and thought about the Cherokee whose home and hunting grounds were here long ago. It was an exceptionally still day with not a single breeze blowing and that made the reflection on the lake amazing, but I could still imagine the sounds of the Native American flutes and drums played here.
The park tells the Cherokee legend of how Table Rock got its name, which says that a Cherokee Chieftain named the Table Rock Watershed “Sah-ka-na-ga” (The Great Blue Hills of God). When he finished hunting, he would stop here and use the Table Rock mountain as his dining table while sitting on Stool Mountain to dine on his venison. Here you can see Stool Mountain to the far right partially hidden by the tree. Of course, I pictured the Chieftain dining at this incomparable al fresco spot and wished him continued good hunting and eats.
And then a message from The Great Heron:
I heard a rustling in the trees that sort of startled me, but then I saw it was a great blue heron flying from the branches across the lake. He was a most beautiful and welcome sight but I couldn’t catch him on camera. Since I was so lost in thought at the moment his movement startled me, and the image of him flying across the lake was sort of surreal to me, I later looked up this encounter in Spirit Animal Totems. I thought it was so right-on with what I’ve been experiencing lately with doubts and indecision about leaving TN, returning to Austin, how to make more money and all the insecurities around that subject for me, I paid particular attention to what it said:
“It is time to look deeper into aspects of your life that will bring out innate wisdom and show you how to become self-reliant. Heron teaches that grounding yourself in the earth and your spiritual beliefs will help you discover emotional insights more clearly and more quickly. Alternatively he could be teaching you how how to become comfortable in uncertain situations and to be watchful of opportunities to arise so that you can quickly grasp them and move on.
You love to explore various activities and dimensions of Earth life. On the surface, this may seem like a form of dabbling, but more than likely you are wonderfully successful at being a traditional ‘Jack of all trades’. This ability enables you to follow your own path. Most people will never quite understand the way you live because on the surface it seems to be unstructured without stability or security to it. It is, though, just a matter of perspective. There is security underneath it all, for it gives you the ability to do a variety of tasks. If one way does not work, then another will. This is something you seem to inherently know.
You do not seem to need a lot of people in your life, nor do you feel pressured to keep up with the material world, or to be traditional in your life roles. You stand out in your uniqueness, and you know how to snatch and take advantage of things and events that the average person would not even bother with.”
So I pray to be able to absorb this wisdom into my being and continue on my own path with faith that I will always have the tools and resources necessary to navigate my way and to trust myself despite the doubts and insecurities that plague me sometimes. Since I saw these wondrous birds three times during my hike, I figured I’d better pay close attention.
My next stop on the trail was a dam and that makes me smile now hoping that the blessings that have always flowed so freely to me to assist in my journey won’t be dammed up now. 🙂
Here’s another trail access point with parking off of Table Rock State Park Road. This is where the CCC built Pinnacle Dam in the 1930s to create Pinnacle Lake as a focal point in the park.
The spillway was built in such a way to resemble a natural waterfall. Native granite rock was quarried by blasting and cutting blocks for building this and other structures in the park, including the historic Lodge. This viewpoint makes it look like the very top is part of the spillway, but actually that is Table Rock perched there partially visible.
Just down the path from the spillway, I saw this little pool that was orange colored from tree tannin. The tiniest of waterfalls caused these white swirling spots and I just found them fascinating to watch – like spun gold. A slow shutter speed and using a neutral density filter created this neat effect.
Bridges are always welcome encounters and assists along trails.
This was my favorite one, being more natural and rustic and lots of frilly ferns all around.
To say I enjoyed this trail would be an understatement. It had elements of all my favorite things – mountains, water views, nature and wildlife. Plus some of my favorite activities include playing games with things I encounter of “that looks like.”
This tree stump was so covered with these interesting shaped fungi, that I imagined them being tiny high rise condos for the wood elves that just have to dwell in this magical place – and the purple wildflowers were their garden. 🙂 Don’t miss the magic and do this hike when you’re at Table Rock!
All Malia’s Miles pages on Table Rock State Park: