Most hikes in WNC are a time for a simple communing with nature. There aren’t significant challenges unless you look for them. Recently, I found some! Upon hiking to Dismal Falls the descent into the gorge was the steepest I have encountered to date. Ropes had been set up by previous hikers, and I brought some rope in anticipation of needing them, and I did. Hiking in November means there are a lot of leaves on the ground making it slippery. And if you go hiking after a recent rain, it is yet more slippery. But combining wet ground AND leaves and the combination makes a seriously steep climb into a gorge harder.
At the top of the gorge I set up my rope and knotted it every four feet (or so). Then I started down. Of course I slipped a time or two but overall it wasn’t too bad. I also was not happily anticipating my return trip, but I kept going. About two thirds the way down I looked up and was incredibly surprised to find a photographer making his way up. We chatted for a few minutes and he was very happy to have a second rope available to him. We also discussed being there at the wrong time of day for the best photographs.
Since I have my photos to show I made it there and back this hike is obviously very do-able. But I have to say that I am a planner. If I didn’t have my rope I could have made it anyway but the chance of an accident would have increased a lot. Just be careful out there. And be wary if you choose to utilize ropes that others have set up.