Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Break; Wawmanona and Dismals Canyon

Wow, I just loaded all the pictures for this post and I think this is the most picture heavy post I've ever done. Maybe I should've made it two posts, but too late now!

Saturday morning dawned bright and early. Erik woke up before the sun, so we got him out of his play pen and put him between the two of us laying on the ground in our sleeping bags. He sat there and talked to us for a really long time, until the sun came up and we were ready to get out of the tent. Then another day of adventuring began. 
Erik helping cook breakfast. 

His favorite thing to do these days is throw stuff away. As soon as he discovered the trash can, he started hauling everything that he could carry over to it to throw it away. Silly boy. 

Helping Daddy do the dishes. 
After breakfast we walked the short distance down to the lake. There were tons of ducks, and lots of trees that were changing color for the fall. 

Ethan and Erik arguing over whether or not to go swimming.

Okay, so this technically happens all the time, not just on this trip, but this was the first time Erik let us get a picture. He's discovered his belly button (or beep beep as we call it) and is obsessed with it. 

After our little walk we started breaking down camp. We make such a good team. 

Before leaving the state park, we took advantage of the play area for a few minutes before starting our 20 minute drive back to Florence. Erik may not look super enthusiastic, but he LOVES to swing. That morning he just relaxed and laid there while Ethan swung back and forth. It was cute. 
We loaded up and headed back towards Florence. We had one more stop to make before we headed south. Wawmanona, the highest domiciliary mound in the Tennessee river valley.
Built between 100 BC and 400 AD, this is not a burial mound, but instead was the cultural center for the surrounding people. They conducted trade and religious ceremonies here. 

Whew, that's a lot of stairs!

We stopped part way up the stairs and discovered what we are 90% sure is some kind of bug. Or just a piece of lint that happens to have legs and the ability to walk. You decide. 

Okay, why these people wanted to have to climb this darn thing just to trade stuff is beyond me. 

The top of Wawmanona. Pretty, but still not sure why they'd choose to put the huge amount of work into building this thing by hand so that they'd have to climb it every time they wanted to do anything. 
After touring the tiny museum (filled mostly with pottery shards) that is associated with this mound, we piled back in the car for the next leg of our trip. About an hour's drive south of Florence is Dismal's Canyon. We've heard about this from several people, and have been wanting to go check it out for a long time. This place has a pretty interesting history. It was a hideout for outlaws and highwaymen who preyed on the travelers moving along the "Devil's Backbone", now known as the Natchez-Trace Parkway. The canyon was used as a "corral" for people while the local native american population was rounded up before being forced to walk the Trail of Tears. The head of the canyon was dammed up and powered a grist mill, and you can still see the mill stones scattered around. Now it is a National Natural Landmark for two reasons. It is a beautiful canyon with breathtaking scenery,and is also the home of the Dismalites; the tiny glow worms that inhabit this canyon and only one or two other places in the whole world. It's a bit spendy to get in, but we are so glad we forked over the change, because it was SO worth it!

Ethan and Erik standing in entrance to the walk way that leads to the visitor's center. 

On the deck outside the VC, getting ready to head down the rickety stairs to the canyon below. 

The waterfall over the dam at the head of the canyon. The dam is a remnant from the canyon's gristmill days. 

The awesome swinging bridge that leads to seemingly nowhere. My biggest regret of the trip is that I didn't get a picture of any of us on the bridge. I figured we do it on our way out, but I forgot. 

The trail wound around through boulders the size of buildings, and often you couldn't see farther than the next couple of steps. 

The sandstone boulders are all covered in moss. They looked so awesome!

Embedded in the sandstone were little pearly white pebbles that poked out through the moss. Unlike this photo, most places you couldn't see the main rock underneath, you just saw these shiny little pearls sticking out of the green velvet. It was really pretty!

There were trees like this all over the place. Notice that these are full size trees, growing on a little outcropping of rock. It's not like these tree's roots could just go around the rock and into the soil beneath, there's several feet of empty air between the rock and the ground. It's pretty crazy. 

I love this picture of the boys. Even Erik seemed impressed by the awesomeness of the canyon walls looming overhead. 

Waiting for Erik to catch up. Whenever the ground was level enough we let him walk. 

He hauled souvenirs all over the canyon. He'd pick up an acorn and carry it until he saw a cool rock, then he'd carry the rock until he saw something better. 

There was all kinds of crazy stuff growing everywhere. It was beautiful. 

Taking a break under a fallen tree. 

Ethan checking out the fish in the stream, Erik enjoying the almost-too-perfect-to-be-natural rocks. They looked like they'd been polished to perfection and came in every color of the rainbow. He kept scooping up handfuls of them just to look at them all. 

Watching the stream pass under the fallen-tree-turned-bridge.

Isn't this tree crazy?!

I put a self portrait of Ethan in an earlier post, so I figured I'd better put in one of me too...

Everything still goes in the mouth. Don't know what this was, maybe another acorn?


He'd get so excited every time we put him down to walk. This time he was waving his arms in sheer joy and love of life. Super cute!

The detour to see Secret Falls. Not sure what's so secret about it, turns out you can see it from the main path. 

See, I told you that you can see Secret Falls from the main path. It was pretty, but nothing spectacular. 

Letting Erik explore the mossy rocks. It occurred to me that brushing up against one of those rocks must be like petting a Muppet. 

An awesome tree root trying to find purchase on a boulder. 

"Wait, you mean I have to walk through that tiny crack up ahead?"

Heading up the stairs onto the swinging bridge. We're now back at the head of the canyon. 

Okay, I take it back, I did get one of us on the swinging bridge. Just not from a cool angle. If you look a little ways to the right of the bridge you can see one of the old mill stones. 

Looking back the way we came across the swinging bridge. 

A last look up at the falls before we climb back up and out of there. Such a neat place!
After leaving Dismal's Canyon, we headed for home via Tupelo and Sam's Club. We were pretty worn out by the time we finished our shopping and made it home, but it was such a great trip. Come visit us, we'll take you to Dismal's to see it for yourself. And maybe we'll stay for the night tour and see the glow worms too, that'd be so Awesome!


  1. What a neat place! I want to come see it!

  2. LOVED the photos!! That really seems a cool place!! Watch out- your invite might bring more people than you want!!! hahahaha :D

    1. Bring it on! We'll take all the visitors you can send our way!

  3. Wow! That was a great trip. I would love to see some of the rocks - did you bring any home or did you have to leave them on the ground?

    1. They make everyone sign a paper before they enter the canyon saying that you won't remove anything from the park. I wish I could've brought home a jar of those little rocks from the creek, they were really beautiful.