"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Showing posts with label waterfalls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waterfalls. Show all posts

Friday, May 19, 2017

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park 

It was time to head for the mountains as Charlottesville was heating up. The Shenandoah
National Park's scenic roadway, Skyline Drive, follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Parkway,
which stretches 469 miles south to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As we climbed
up to 3500 feet above sea level, the temperatures dropped to the 60s in the sunshine.
Shortly after turning onto the parkway, a big black bear bounded across the road.
Once she was in the woods, she looked back at us as we stopped in the middle of the
road. No one was behind us so we enjoyed the moment.


Traveling in the shoulder season is the best. No reservations were needed at the Big Meadow
Campground. We settled in after our 55 mile drive and took a hike to Dark Hollow Falls and
made a stop at the visitor's center to listen to the naturalist's talk. After the talk, he
took us out to see a nest of the Junko, a bird that nests in the grass. We missed the baby
birds but the parents were out.

Dark Hollow Falls

Most of the trees are just starting to bloom, making getting a peak of the views from the trail possible.

One evening after we had gone inside, I noticed an older lady pull up across from us in a Class C motorhome. I noticed she was alone and didn't think much about that until I heard hear trying to level the RV. She would back up and try to get a running start to get on the levelers. They would shoot out when she hit them making lots of noise. I told Mike that I was going out there and help her. That really meant that he should get his shoes on and give us a hand.
She was quite a character and had flown from Tallahassee to purchase the RV from a couple of elderly ladies. She previously had a Road Trek and she was getting acquainted with the Class C. She had never married and had traveled to all 49 states and Canadian Provinces in that Road Trek and was ready for a larger unit. It was fun to hear her story and adventurous spirit. "We" got here all set so she could get some rest. 

Not an easy bike ride uphill at 4 mph but the downhill was sweet at 30 plus mph.

 After our bike ride on Skyline Drive, we stopped at the visitor's center. While taking a break at
picnic tables, we met "Born Ready", his AT hiking name. He was happy to sit and visit about his journey on the AT which runs by our campground. He retired at 65 and decided to take on the challenge, leaving Springer, GA on Feb 15th. He said that it was harder than anything he could have imagined even after training for several weeks before starting. We have done day hikes on many sections of the trail and agree that it is tough.

The number of hikers on the AT is at a high number this year. The few days we got to spend in
Shenandoah National Park, there was a steady flow of hikers. The different hikers we have spoken with agree that the weather has been tough the past two months.
Lewis Falls

The mornings before the sun comes up is the best with the cool morning air and peaceful quiet before
people start moving around. It also makes taking this picture pretty nice.

We saw plenty of critters but most of the time no picture, except for this guy.
    At the tunnel leaving Shenandoah a bear cub turned and ran up the hill as we got close. The two bears  we got to see were quite a treat.
In the mornings, We would wake to the whippoorwill's song and the hoot of the owl as we closed our eyes at night. I am sure glad that some very smart people felt this was something important to preserve.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Blue Ridge Mountain Waterfalls

Oconee State Park
We drove a short 60 miles to this great state park in South Carolina. It has been fun spending time at a place and driving a shorter distance to the next. It has been raining on us a bit every day for a while but pretty heavy the past two days. We still get out in our rain gear.
The lake is peaceful now in the shoulder season but has to be crazy with families in the swimming areas and boats that can be rented in the summer are many cabins for rent and over 140 campsites. Right now, there are less than 20 sites in use.

I love the fog over the lake in the morning. South Carolina has quite a number of state parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  2. 1930s CCC flag. Of course, they were involved in building this park too.

The park has several places with internet. Saturdays in the summer, they have square dancing lessons.

Old water wheel

Many miles of hiking trails from the campground.

 The 1,617 foot long Stumphouse Tunnel is an oddity. Started in 1852 to connect the railways from Charleston to Knoxville and on to Cincinnati, the Civil War—and lack of funds—brought construction to a halt. There were various efforts by the Blue Ridge Railroad to revive the tunnel, none of them came to pass and it stands today as a monument to the efforts of pre-Civil War engineering

In 1951, Clemson University bought the tunnel and used it to cure the South's first blue cheese with its constant temp of 50 degrees and humidity of 85%.

Many tunnels we have been in have been damp but this one was really wet.

Around the corner from the tunnel and over the bridge was a trail to the falls.
Issaqueena Falls
Legend has it that the falls is named for an Indian maiden, Issaqueena, who warning the white settlers of an Indian attack, was then chased by Indians and she appeared to jump over the falls. By actually hiding behind the falls (or some legend-tellers say she hid behind a stump, hence Stumphouse Tunnel), she tricked her pursuers and survived.

Oconee Station
Originally a military compound and later a trading post,

Mountain Laurel lining the trails

Station Cove Falls
 A 50-foot high ledge at the end of a .7 mile trail in Oconee Station State Park near Walhalla, SC. It's an easy and peaceful 20-minute hike on a wide, rolling trail after walking along the pond.

Walhalla, SC

 After our morning of sightseeing, we found a place that served home cooking. An older lady sitting next to us made some suggestions as to what to order. Once our meals came, the waitress asked if we needed vinegar or butter for my turnip greens and cornbread. I said that I was fine. The lady next to us said "She's not a Southerner". I then told the waitress I would take some vinegar and butter after all. The lady gave me her Pepper Sauce and told me to try it. I felt obligated to try it and liked it. This little lady eating alone made our day. She was a hoot as she told us her stories.
Hidden Falls on the Foothills Trail

There are so many waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We set out to see more and this time it wasn't raining. But all that rain made for some nice falls even if it makes me sweat something fierce.

The forest was such a pretty color of green.
We made it.
 This trip continues to provide so many varied experiences with interesting people. No wonder we need a nap at times. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Newberry Volcano National Monument

We were having trouble with the driver's side window that would get stuck in the down position. We have had this problem before and took it to the Ford garage and paid to have it fixed. He wasn't crazy about paying $400 to have it fixed again, went online to youtube and found a fix. If it didn't work, he would take it in. He fixed it. Hurray!

The Big Obsidian Flow formed 1300 years ago is Oregon's youngest lava flow.
Obsidian is very sharp on the edges and was used by the Native Americans for weapons by making arrowheads,spearheads, knives and jewelry.

There are few places in the continental United States where you can walk in a landscape so utterly foreign. The Big Obsidian Flow is a patch of black and grey volcanic glass covering about 4 square miles of the Newberry Crater floor. We saw everything from the classic jet-black glass suited for Native American tools to frothy grey glass that looks more like a stone sponge than an arrowhead.
It was amazing walking through the lava flow but had to watch where we were putting our feet. The black shiny obsidian was hot from the sun with sharp edges.

As we walked the trail, at the top was a treat with a great view of Lost Lake in the crater and mountains in the background.

Paulina Falls falls 80 feet with twin falls was just a short walk to the overlook but 1/4 mile down to the bottom for a different view.

Paulina Falls spills over the lowest point of Newberry Caldera.

After walking around the Big Obsidian Flow and Paulina Falls, we headed over to the lava tube cave for the 1 mile walk into the cave.

The Lava River Cave formed about 80,000 years ago was like entering another world. It is Oregon's longest lava cave extending almost 1 mile.The forest service job did a great job of making the cave very walkable. We walked down 55 steps into darkness requiring our headlamps. Lamps were available at the trailhead for $5 but our headlamps worked just fine keeping our hands free. At times we felt like we were in the belly of a whale with the striations along the walks of the cave.

We made it to the end. It was interesting to spend the time walking a mile underground and listening to the quiet and dark. We took along extra flashlights in case the headlamp's batteries ran out.

There were just a few bats in the cave. With almost 400 caves in Oregon, I bet they found a quieter place tosleep during the day without people walking through.

Oregon has many covered bridges that we will have to return and see. This one is difficult to see though the window as I took the picture.

It had been over a month since we had last gotten our mail and had it sent general delivery to the Sunriver post office minus the junk mail. We got a few bills and a Father's Day card with a nice gift card which we promptly used.