Waterfalls and Vistas

Another perfect fall hiking day.  While it was a chilly start, the sun was abundant and it didn’t take long for the warm temps to settle into the forest.  My warriors were in for a treat today.

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We learned the merits of a selfie stick today, thanks to Hannah.

Starting with a popular hike that nearly everyone in the New River Valley has done – we hiked the Cascades.  With remnants from the last two hurricanes, I actually called the forest service to make sure the trails were open.  They were, and the river was gushing.

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The Cascades were at their absolute fullest and just as beautiful as always.

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But that was just the beginning.  My friends have never been beyond this point and that was something I had to remedy.  The next stop was the Upper Falls.

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The drop may not be as dramatic, but you can walk right out to the top of the falls and they are secluded enough that unless you know exactly where they are, you would not find them.  (Shhh, I’m not telling)

For me, the best was yet to come, as you know I’m all about the view.  So we had another mile and a half to get to the gem known as Barney’s Wall.

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The trail is steep at first and then levels off, so while it’s not a difficult climb, it is long (seems much longer than the mileage posted).  But, as always, worth it.

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We ate lunch, basked in the sun, and lounged long enough to appreciate the view and the fact that we were alone on this rock with only the buzzards aware of our presence.

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It wasn’t until we were almost back to the lower falls that we met another person heading up to Barney’s Wall.  Then the traffic picked up from the falls to the parking lot.  A very full day with a lot to explore, we all were happily tired on the return trip wondering where the next adventure will take us.

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Thanks for visiting today!

 

Deer ? – Women 0

When you are planning a hike with a group of women, you are thinking about dates; weather; snacks; restrooms, etc.  What does not cross your mind is if it is opening day for rifle season.  Which it was.  Today.  For our hike.  Thankfully, no one shot us, but we could hear gun fire all around.

Before I tell you more about the hike, let me amuse you with the ride to the trail head.  Knowing that it was going to be a “rough” road, I asked fellow blogger Laurie (lifeonthebikeandotherfabthings.com) to drive her 4 -wheel drive, big ass truck!  I don’t think anyone else in the group had a vehicle that could have made this trip.  Just to give you a preview of the road:

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Even though a couple of passengers experience car sickness, we thought the trip was so funny, that we laughed most of the way up.  In fact, our distraction had us drive past our trail head the first time and forced us into the bumpiest part of the trip.

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A friend had given me very specific instructions and they were spot on.  But when we arrived at the end of the road without seeing the trail, I knew something was wrong.  Had they taken down the sign?  How did we miss it??  Oh well, we decided that even if we never found it, the adventure so far had been worth it.  So, after inspecting the truck, we turned around and headed back down the road.

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Laurie had so much fun driving through the “puddles” and splaying the water, that we all had to be careful getting out of the truck to avoid the mud.

Next, Beth decided to ask Google where the heck this trail was, and to our delight, Google took us right to the pullover for the trail head.  Guess what?  It was exactly as my friend had said, and the sign was there plain as day.  However, there were a couple of cars parked on the opposite side of the road, we must have been so busy inspecting them, that we totally missed seeing the sign.

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As we started down the path, it was not long before a couple of hunters approached us.  Having already heard a gunshot, I asked if we were safe to hike today.  That’s when they informed us that today was the first day of rifle season.  Swell.  So I asked, “You don’t shoot women do you?”  They assured us that they were focused on their targets and we probably would not be mistaken for deer.  So we continued.

This was my 3rd trip to Barney’s Wall, but the first time from this approach.  Usually, it’s an 8 mile round trip which includes the famous local waterfall, the Cascades.  But this approach was a much shorter hike, albeit a much longer and more treacherous ride.

But we made it.

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And it was so worth it.

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Our fearless driver, Laurie – we decided on the trip back to the truck, that we needed to surround her, to protect her from gunfire – none of us wanted to have to drive back down that road.

Another fun outing with some fabulous women!!

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Fellow hikers, Tiina, Beth, Laurie, Liz, and yours truly!

 

The Cascades and Barney’s Wall

Anyone who has lived in the New River Valley for any length of time has probably made a trip to the Cascades.  This is the singularly most popular hike in the area and even non-hikers have been here.  The easy 4 mile round trip leads to this beautiful waterfall.

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We visited the Cascades shortly after moving to the area.  It became our “go to” place to take out of town guests.

What I did not know, was that there was a spectacular view of the New River Valley, just two miles farther up the trail to Barney’s Wall.  This is a not so easy hike, it is steep in places, very rocky, slick in some places, but totally worth the effort.

I had been on this hike only once, my hiking buds for the day had not been there at all, so it was up to me to get us there.  Bad idea!  Even though I was there just a year ago, even though I read the directions before leaving home, and even though I felt somewhat confident that I knew how to get there – alas, I got us lost just long enough to add an extra mile to the hike (thank god for smartphones and internet or we’d still be wandering around).  But eventually we made our way to this!

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It’s hard to capture the magnificence of this setting.  As you peer over the rock, you are looking straight down (do not go here if you have vertigo). It’s the most spiritual feeling as you take in the power of Mother Nature.

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There is something about being on top of a mountain that brings me pure joy!

But wait, there’s more!  We met a couple on the trail who told us about another waterfall.  It is located on an unmarked trail close to the intersection for Barney’s Wall. We decided to explore it on the way down.

But first, stopped to admire some colorful fungi.

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Adding just another mile for this detour, we were treated to this waterfall.

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The best part about it, was that you can walk right up to it and it is as impressive as it’s famous sister falls.

It is fed from this creek.

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A little over 5 hours, about 10 miles, and 3 happy (but weary) hikers.

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My husband always says if he ever wants to get rid of me, he’ll just drop me off in the woods somewhere with no phone.  Oh well, as long as there’s a good view, I’ll be content.