Pounder Branch - Unnamed Falls
Cane Creek Wildlife Area
You know, half the fun of hiking to Van Hook Falls really is the hike. Usually for me it's mostly about the payoff, but the section of the Sheltowee Tracel National Trail as it passes through the Cane Creek Wildlife Management Area from Kentucky 192 to Van Hook is one of the prettiest in Kentucky! When you start out on the trail you have no clue about what's ahead. It's drab and boring, but after you descend into the watershed things change quickly and you find yourself among a second growth hemlock forest as the trail follows and crosses, several times I might add, a tributary of Pounder Branch. You pass two falls along the tributary, both fairly small, but when it meets the main branch things change quickly as the creek begins to drop and drop and drop. Small creeks flow across the trail and then descend into Pounder Branch as the creek is now 100 ft. below to your right. Below you hear falling water. We counted at least 11 waterfalls along the trail. My good friend Chris Morris had been here before and spotted a place he had ascended from the gorge to the trail so down we went. For me it was a little dicey, I'm not a fan of heights but I pushed on anyway and made the scramble down to creek level. Goodness, what a payoff as this was the waterfall at the bottom. Although I'm sure there have been some, it was nice to know I was visiting a waterfall many had never been to and to make it even better with this much water on it. It was so peaceful there, with the sound of rushing water all around, towering hemlocks high above my head, and rhododendrons dancing across the high water, it was truly paradise.