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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Thanks for visiting today!


The little hike that wasn’t.

This past weekend, JG and I rented a cabin in far Southwest Virginia.  There is a hike that I heard about several years ago and it has been on my mind that I have to do it.  It’s called The Devil’s Bathtub.  I knew it would be challenging, I’ve read about the many creek crossings, but it sounded like something I really wanted to try.

Friday morning, we did a small hike outside the town of St. Paul where we spent the night in a really cute boutique hotel called The Western Front.  If you are in that area, I highly recommend staying there.

Anyway, we decided to check out the parking for the Devil’s Bathtub as we planned to hike this on Saturday.  Here’s what we found:


Notice how these are all 4-wheel drive vehicles.  We started up the road and quickly realized our Camry did not want to go any further.

Not exactly welcoming!  I get that it’s annoying to have property close to an attraction like this, and I get that people will park where ever they have to, but what I don’t get is this: you have an amazing attraction in a county that could really use a boost.  Why not pave the road, put in a decent parking lot and capitalize on this.  The nearest gas station is about 5 miles away, there is no cell service.  We felt like this was something locals have decided not to share (wait a minute, I do know about that too).  I know there are ways to get there, but after seeing the barbed wire and signs, we decided not to put out any more effort.

On to Plan B, (always have a plan B). There is another cool hike called Hanging Rock trail that takes you along the Little Stoney Creek and rewards you with some waterfalls.  We drove to the trail head and were surprised to see only one other vehicle in the parking lot.  Guess Why?


We have had a lot of rain in the area so it was not that big of a surprise.  Of the 3 miles, about 1/2 mile of the trail was open.  What the heck, we had to see how far we could go.


This is as far as we were allowed. At least we got to experience a portion of the Little Stoney.  And, what we saw just left us wanting more.  Don’t worry Scott County, we will be back.


Hike’s a Journey

Some hikes you know you are just going for the view.  Today’s hike was more about the journey.  And what a journey!  My warriors were put to the test on what we all agreed was our most difficult hike so far – but also the most interesting, challenging, and wonderful hike.


This is the before picture, when we were all fresh.

What made it challenging was: the length – 7 miles; the creek crossings – 3; the rocky terrain; and the elevation gain – 1500 + feet.

Just a little sample of the creek crossings.


Of course there was a view. . .


and a beautiful creek. . .


and the hint of fall colors.


I wrote about this hike, Mill Creek, a few weeks ago, this is one that JG and I got caught in the rain.  Every time I do this (today was number 3) it seems to get a little easier and it always looks just a little different.  I will be taking my weekenders here later in the month, it could be even more of a challenge as the leaves were falling at an alarming rate today.

Great way to spend Columbus Day.  A shout out to my Canadian friends – Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone had a wonderful day!  I know we did.


Learning to Share

Such a great plan.  We leave early in the morning, 8:30 a.m. (hey that’s early if you’re retired).  It’s a weekday, school is in session, people are at work.  Perfect time to hike the most popular spot in the area, right?  Then why was the parking lot already full when we arrived at 9:30?  Time to learn to share. (sigh)


My enthusiastic companions today! 

Did I really just complain about having to share a trail?  I apologize!  I’m thrilled so many folks love hiking as much as I do.  And it really wasn’t that bad, except when an older couple passed us and the woman told us that we were the first group they had passed all day, having previously been the ones to get passed.  Folks, that is NOT a compliment!

Oh well, it was an incredible day for hiking.  Crisp blue sky, dancing clouds, good friends, and we could not have asked for better weather.


McAfee’s Knob is the most photographed spot on the Appalachian Trail.  Today, I got to introduce it to two newbies (and one who hadn’t been there for many years).


Yup, that’s the money shot.

October is a tough month for some dear friends of mine.  Two years ago they lost their youngest son to a sudden illness.  I usually wear his remembrance bracelet when I am hiking.  The bracelet says “be outrageous, be strong, be you.”  I especially think of Sawyer when I’m on a high cliff or crossing a difficult creek.  He was a fearless, spirited young boy who left this world way to soon.  This one is for you my young friend.




On the way down, we encountered a little guy that I really didn’t want to share the trail with. . .


But since there were 4 of us and only one of him, I think we could have taken him if necessary.


All around great day, thanks to my warriors for joining me on this really fun hike!