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.
It was the most beautiful hike we have yet to be on: Colorful flower blooms lined the trail and the most breathtaking mountain cliff sunset and sunrise made this hike extraordinarily magical.
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.
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 hike goes down as one of our top three, and lucky for us we got a mountain sunset and sunrise there, along with a series of waterfalls, a 360-degree summit view, small campsite on a cliff face, and of course a walk on the Appalachian Trail.
This was our first snow hike, and it left us admiring the landscape, feeling appreciative to have winding trails and mountains like this one to climb.
Our first hike together in 2018 comes with possible bear markings, a vista that has dramatic drop offs, and — of course — another dose of direction miscalculations.
It definitely looked like smoke. It even smelt like there was wood burning, which really panicked both of us so we needed to hustle and get out of the forest because we were in the most serious hiking trouble we’ve yet to be in.
To say we felt barely holding onto life, to say we felt drained in all mental and physical states, to say we felt like champions by the end — all of that, an understatement. Except for the champions bit. We were, we are champions.
This hike was the opposite of my last — Opposite in every way opposite can be. But that equaled calmness, exactly what I wanted right now. Plus, it had two vistas, an awesome shelter location, and even a plane crash site.
The only way to summarize this hike is through a quote: “Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes. True love. Miracles.”
Alright, I’m setting a loose and lofty goal of going on at least two hikes every month. Lucky for me, I made new hiker friends and was able to pack my pack a second time, just seven days after my first hike.