Dirt Man and I had planned to hike Crabtree Falls. It had been many years for both of us, but I figured it wouldn’t really be that difficult since we’d be following the trail. Right? Wrong! This is why:
Dirt Man: Come here for just a quick minute. (He is pointing to a bit path off the opposite side of the parking lot which appears to be leading to possibly a “natural” bathroom spot.
Me: Where are we going? Aren’t we supposed to stay on the trail? ( Wylie (the dog) drags me in after him and rips through two huge rocks.)
Dirt Man: It’s not far. It’s a beautiful set of waterfalls. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
This is where I thought he was leading me, and let’s just say I was more than disappointed. I was peeved. As I straddled fallen trees and balanced myself with a walking stick, I muttered ugly words under my breath. I climbed rocks, slipped, jumped over logs, scooted under logs, and almost wet my pants. And not to mention that we forgot to stop and get bottled water the night before. (However, note that we did have a cooler of ice beer…not allowed and that was a good thing!) Fortuanately, I kept all those nasty seldom used words below the surface, so Dirt Man was never the wiser…except he knew (minus the expletives!) I wanted to be hiking the trail.
This is only a small sample of the natural elements I had to maneuver around, not to mention that it was all up the side of a mountain! Wylie had no problem. She sqatted when needed, drank out of the stream, and plunged forward and upward. And she never complained once…that was me whining “how much farther?”
I think this is an interesting geological formation in the way the rock has split in several pieces and shifted with smaller pieces having drifted down stream. There are various patterns of shifting rock along the creek bed and up the mountain side.
This was where he led me. I was no longer disappointed. It was absolutely beautiful and serene. This is off the beaten path, so only locals or Appalachian trail runners know of it’s existence. Dirt Man used to hike the Appalachian for years, so he knows many of nature’s best kept secrets. In fact, we call Crabtree Falls “Virginia’s Best Kept Secret”. (There is a set of Crabtree Falls in North Carolina, but the beauty is no where comparable to the ones in Virginia.) And yet, this is nothing compared to the beauty that awaits above this point.
I met this little guy as I reached the spot we were turning to head back down to hit the designated trail. I wan’t pleased about meeting up with him. Dirt Man claimed that he was a harmless little garden snake. Phooey, he looked rather menacing to me. He didn’t hiss or strike at me, but I’m sure he was thinking about whether or not he wanted a bite of me. Other than taking a picture, we ignored the little guy and headed up the falls properly.
This sign above states WHY one must stay on the trail. The rocks are slippery and when you reach the high elevations and slip, there is no stopping. Most people think because they can’t see the algae that it isn’t there. Trust me, it is. Some of the rocks are even slippery on the lower elevations. We kept Wylie leashed, and she was not happy about not being able to get in the water. We did let her drink water at the edge on even spots. Otherwise, she was a great hiker.
This is a close up of one area of the first set of falls.
This is the bottom part of the first section. I wish I knew the altitiude and length to give you more of a visual, but I think some of the other pictures will give you a better idea.
This huge boulder with a hole in it looks as if it might make a nice home or place of shelter for wild animals.
Is this not magnificent or what?!
This is just one of the huge rocks that builds a natural wall along part of the trail.
The falls widen and narrow and twist and turn all the way down.
The sound of the rushing water and the song of the splatter is music unlike any I’ve heard. It’s a wet symphony that melts away worry and places you in that moment in time. How often in life do we get that feeling?
The holes in this rock look as if the hand of God picked it up and placed it where He saw fit.
This set of falls spans over a wider area of rock.
The water curves and rides the formation of the rocks. This is rock and water in harmony, nature at it’s best.
The richness of the tones in this shot captures the splendor of the elements.
This is a closer shot where you can almost see the drops of water in the spray.
The way the water shoots off and reconnects and seperates reminds me of lightening.
I included this one of Dirt Man walking away after taking pictures from a closer range so that you could appreciate the magnitude of the falls. And this is only right below the half way point. The falls go a couple of miles higher. We didn’t climb to the top as we were trying to combine two days of activities into one day. We wanted to spend the afternoon on our river property. We headed below to our our little slice of heaven and had lunch and a few beer. We basked in the sun and played in the river until evening. We completed our Nelson Trip with a visit to Saunders to buy peaches and have ice cream made with the orchard peaches. It was a delicious treat for the hot weather and a nice ending to a day of basking in God’s glorious canvas of nature.