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!

 

Hiking, Christmas, and Vertigo

Finally got back on the trail when my daughter and her husband arrived on Friday morning.  Even though this is a fairly easy hike, which I have done several times, I was very pleased that my hip, knee and old age in general, cooperated enough to get me up and down the 5 mile trail to the Cascades and the upper falls. We started with the upper falls, passing some icicles along the way.

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This was our grand dog, Stark’s, first hike – he seemed to like it.

Then we started down to the lower falls.

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Starting out it was a little chilly, but we had periods of sunshine and it warmed up as the day wore on. All in all a very good hike.

Christmas Eve was full of food, games, lights, presents and grand dog in sweater.

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It was all wonderful, until I woke up Christmas morning feeling like I was having the worst hangover of my life (when I had only had one drink the day before).  After our company left, I spent the day in bed, totally miserable – dizzy and nauseous.  If you have ever experienced vertigo, you know it is NOT fun! I’m going on my 3rd day of living upstairs (I did make it from our bedroom to my office next door).  With the help of my wonderful, patient husband, I was able to take a quick shower this morning.  But as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking it’s time to climb back into bed.

My little house guest and my daughter’s Christmas present helped get me through the last couple of days.  I would have been very bored without them.

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I’ve enjoyed reading all your holiday posts.  I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!!

 

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.

 

 

A Walk in the Woods

or:  How I Spent My Anniversary

If you saw the movie based on the book by Bill Bryson – A Walk in the Woods, you may remember the scene where Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are on top of McAfee’s Knob. This lookout on the Appalachian Trail is the most photographed spot on the whole AT.

Living in Southwest Virginia – there are two very popular hikes.  The Cascades, located in Giles County is the most popular hike, even non-hikers have been there.  It is a fairly easy 2 miles in 2 miles out, and the waterfall is stunning.  In the summer you will see people swimming and wading in the very cool water.  Couples take wine and cheese to the top and enjoy a romantic setting.  It’s where you take out of town guests when you need something to do outdoors.

For hikers – McAfee’s Knob is a must!  You can tell by the almost always full parking lot, that it is a favorite among locals as well as out of town visitors.  The view from the top is breathtaking and worth the 3.9 mile hike up the mountain.  This is where we went for our 30th anniversary hike on Sunday.  I can’t think of a better place to be, even though we have been there before.

We took some friends with us who had seen the movie and were dying to see the view.  As we walked up the not so easy. and at times very rocky, trail we all wondered how they got everyone on top of the mountain to shoot the movie.  Robert Redford probably hiked up, but we all agreed Nick Nolte must have been dropped from a helicopter.  Does anyone know?

Regardless, it was a beautiful, sunny, clear day (albeit a little windy) and we all enjoyed the fantastic view.

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After 30 years of marriage, my guy knows that I don’t need flowers, jewelry, candy or cards, just give me a good view from a mountain top!