24 July 2011

Rock Island

Over the past very hot two weeks, we have spent time at Rock Island. This little piece of paradise is a treacherous, rocky, and steep climb, but it is extremely short, and well worth the risk.
Festooned with falls, I don't ever take my camera, because we spend the entire time frolicking under the falls.
This weekend was one of the busiest I've ever seen. We went on a Thursday last week, and we had this area completely to ourselves.

On a hot, dry day in July, the mist from the falls is refreshing, and the frigid, crisp water perks you right up.

Special thanks to our good friend Dustin for braving the trail to grab these shots.

07 July 2011

Fiery Gizzard

We finally went for an overnighter and tackled the Fiery Gizzard. We hiked a total of 15 miles with 35 lbs between us in our packs. The batteries on my camera ran out, and I only thought to use my phone about mid-trip, so I only took a few snap shots as I didn't want to keep messing with my phone.
Day one was the short part of the trip, but the map describes this section as "arduous" and I am inclined to agree with that description. The rocks are loose and there are long stretches where on false step, and you could easily end up wounded. This is NOT a trail for our little guys, and I am relieved that we didn't attempt it with them.
We had red beans and rice for dinner, made a fire at Raven Point, and hiked 8+ miles this morning before 11am. My legs ache!
The hike was gorgeous. We were rained on a bit, but the tree canopy kept us from getting soaked, and we were able to make camp, cook, and sit around the fire with no wetness. It WAS muggy, but we were surrounded with water and it really wasn't TOO hot.
Someone left all the workings for a campfire for us! We were too beat to use it, but it felt lucky. The next backpacker will get to enjoy it.
This is the top of Foster Falls. We have camped here before, and swum under the waterfall, but today, we were anxious for something cold to drink and to take our shoes off. We hiked back to the car instead.
The path winds near overlooks, waterfalls, springs, through thick forests, rocky creek beds, cool moss covered rock piles, and Laurel groves. Simply lovely.

06 July 2011

Barfield Crescent

Our kids are out of town this week, and we have decided to take a big hike.
We leave today to hike the Fiery Gizzard and have a little camp out.
Yesterday, after having lived in this area since before Eli could walk, we finally hiked the loop at Barfield Crescent. It was very pleasant. The biggest surprise was how fast we could go without a 5 year old with us. I miss the little boogers, desperately, but I have high hopes that we can cover some ground today without making little feet wear plum out.
Check back soon for a full report of the 13 miles.

Barfield Crescent was covered in this flower though, I don't know what it is.

01 July 2011

Savage Falls

Today we took a lovely hike to Savage Falls. We walked 3.2 miles again. The weather was a cool 80 degrees, spirits were high, and it was an easy walk.
In the woods, I thought I heard rain, but as it turns out, the sound was the pitter-patter of grasshoppers.
Rhododendron in bloom made the air smell like ice-cream according to Eli.
This was such a nice, easy trail, I thought all of these warning signs were funny.
A rhododendron grove. Notice the petals all over the forest floor.

These were the falls. It was shallow enough around the edges to walk under the falls. Eli and I swam as it was deep in the center, but were able to frolic under the water easily.
This fall was right next to the bigger one pictured above.

All from the same seated position (above)..
We could walk side by side most of the hike with trails that look like the picture above. I hike barefooted often times, and the path today was cool and soft.

27 June 2011

Sycamore Falls

On Sunday, we left to go hiking and the sky looked like the picture above. We started on the trail, and turned back after getting drenched.
So today, we drove to one of my very favorite loops in Grundy Forest. We hiked 3.2 miles to Sycamore Falls-pictured above.
We saw rock art..

Tons of mushrooms..
The rain has made the forest moist and humid.

Several wildflowers...
Tick-seed sunflower..

Wild blackberries

Steep sides, roots, and rocks make for a moderate hike for kids.

Tree face

May-apple flower?
Spectacular swimming spot at Sycamore falls.
Well worth the hike.

Giant old Hawthorne