People often talk of one of Shenandoah National Park’s most popular cascades: Rose River Falls. What they do not know though is that if you wander off trail and follow the river down, you will be rewarded with an even larger waterfall.
President Thomas Jefferson and I have something in common: We both were charmed by Falling Spring Falls, a mystical eighty-foot waterfall in the beautiful blue Alleghany Highlands mountains.
We set off for a sunset at one vista before hiking in the moonlight to another where we would watch a sunrise the following morning . . . but nature had other plans . . . other plans as in tornado watch right where we were . . .
And it was around here — in the middle of the most breathtaking color-change — that I . . . um . . . Reader, I’ll just be blunt with you: I dropped Andrew’s phone off the mountain cliff.
We followed the trail of flowers where butterflies danced in front of us, zooming in and out of the blooms to suck more nectar . . .
This cliff view resembled a painting: There were trees with pops of vibrant reds, yellows, and greens — others, white with flower pedals. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, a bald eagle shot out from the valley, swooping in the air before circling over the Blue Ridge.
At the waterfall, we let the hours slip by as we followed the flowing water down the mountain. Hopping over the rocks, we smiled and laughed, challenging each other to stone skipping contests in this little piece of forest we had to ourselves . . .
It was a frigid winter day when we hiked to one of Shenandoah National Park’s most famous waterfalls, White Oak Canyon.
This hike made me feel calm, gleeful, and child-like — giggling with Andrew as the wind gusts pushed against us and as we squeezed inside tiny crevices of gigantic boulders. This is love amplified in countless forms.
And this is Richmond, our Richmond — a big little city (as residents say), one that boasts of its river so much the area is nicknamed “The River City.” Here’s more on our walk along the floodwall . . .
It felt a mighty battle between gods for light and darkness. Deep grey clouds suffocated the sun and loomed over the blue valley while the sun struggled to pierce through in broken patches of light.
This is our home. This is where we feel most comfortable — where the sun and moon shine together and where colors are at their prime. This is where the world stands still but also blurs by and we grasp — keep trying to grasp — that moment where we, too, can freeze in time.
Here, the white boulders were streamed with hints of pastels — yellows, oranges, and pinks — as we watched the sun set until it faded behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This hike is packed full of so much rain that my camera refused to work and fog so thick it became mesmerizing. But in all of that rain and fog: The most amazing Virginia waterfall and sheer cliff drop we have yet to see.
“You come up with some stupid ideas, but this — ” and he pointed in the direction from where we had come, “has to be the stupidest.”
This is what Andrew had to say to me as we were stuck in the middle of our most terrifying hike yet. Here we took to England’s almost-mythic mountain, Helvellyn.