Monday, May 16, 2016

Hiking the Cascades- May

Every spring we try to visit the Cascades, in the Jefferson National forest in Pembroke, VA.  It's a scenic two mile hike to a 66 foot cascading waterfall. This is one my all time favorite places to hike.

We normally visit the cascades in early spring when the wildflowers are in full bloom. This year we were a little later, and the usual wildflowers had already finished blooming. The Jack-in-the-pulpit, White Clintonia and wild Geranium were blooming, but the Trillium (my favorite) was done.

When we left the house to go hiking it was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect hiking weather, but when we got to Pembroke there was a huge gray cloud over us and it began to sprinkle. Then it began to rain. We did the entire hike in the pouring rain. It was cold and wet, but there was so much water coming out of the mountains that there were small waterfalls everywhere. It made for a very different hiking experience.

Despite the parking lot being completely filled, the trail was pretty empty. Folks must have left and taken the upper trail as soon as the rain started.   We took the lower trail, and only came across a few people. 

The the actual falls were very intense. There was much more water pouring over them and it was powerful and intense. We typically walk out to the falls, but it felt very dangerous this time. The whole creek was moving rapidly with much more force and energy than i've ever felt there. 

We stayed on the observation deck and didn't anywhere near the water. This is the first time we have been there where no else was here. Typically the pool and rocks in front of the falls is full of people.

The hike is always so invigorating. The sound of the crashing water on the rocks, the energy in the air, the sounds and smells of the forest make one feel very alive.  This is a very magical healing place. 

Every step of this hike is beautiful. We took the lower trail to the falls, and the upper trail back. The upper trail is easier, but not as scenic. 

i love everything about this hike, and look forward to it every year. It seems to wash away all the negative energy from the winter, and leave us feeling cleansed and healed.  Despite it being a somewhat strenuous hike, i always leave with more energy than i came with.  

i was a little disappointed that we missed the wildflowers this year (i think we missed them last year too). We left wet and covered in mud, but still had a wonderful time.  

We are really hoping to do a lot more hiking and camping this summer, something Kenan and i did often before we had kids.  We do take the kids on day hikes almost every weekend, but haven't been camping in a long time.  We are really hoping to change that this summer and would like to start canoeing and/or kayaking as well.  

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves . ~John Muir, Our National Parks


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