Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Camping Trip: Day Two

Lydia's clothes line
Lydia woke up before me. I was still recovering from only getting one hour of sleep the night before, so I lazed for a while. When I came out, Lydia had hung up the wet clothes on a clothes line.  I set stuff up to make breakfast, which we shortly ate. We decided we'd hit Looking Glass Falls first, and after yesterday, meticulously made sure anything that shouldn't get wet was either in the car or in the tent-within-a-tent that now had a tarp thrown over it for double protection!
Lydia and me at Looking Glass, before swimming
Clad in our bathing suits, we headed to Looking Glass Falls, which was my favorite part of camping in this area as a kid. It's a waterfall you can swim under!  When I visited it as a kid, I could swim right up under it (and so did lots of people) but there must have been a drought that year (wasn't there every year when I was a kid?) because you couldn't just swim under it this trip, the current was too strong. But you could swim in the pool below it, and climb the rocks and jump in. Lydia apparently prefers rock climbing to swimming (weirdo! :) )  and was climbing a lot. I came over and perched on a lower rock, and then started looking down. I realized if you scrambled over the low rocks you'd come to a place where you could climb behind the waterfall. So I did. I stuck my head and shoulders below it...
Looking Glass Falls. Isn't it majestic? I especially love the massive rock overhanging it. God is such a masterful artist!
It kind of hurt! I pulled out. I remembered getting behind the waterfall as a kid, and there was a place where you were behind the main bulk of the falls, it falling right in front of your face. But that was swimming right up to the front.  Apparently approaching from the side, you'd have to go through several feet of solid falls to get to such a place, and I was too chicken.
Lydia and I AFTER swimming in the Falls
But Lydia wasn't. She stormed through and found the hollow place and stood behind the falls. I debated following suite after she came out, but decided against it. We swam around some more, then left.  I highly recommend Looking Glass Falls. For strong swimmers like Lydia and I, swimming under the falls is amazing.  But there's also little pools and the river gets peaceful just beyond the main area beneath it, and it's gentle enough for toddlers to wade there. It's a great location, and it's free. (I love National Parks!)
Me, after Looking Glass. See how euphoric I look? It was thrilling!
We left the Falls to head to Sliding Rock, which is basically a natural waterslide. There's a small fee ($1 per person) but it's for the whole day. Except you're not allowed to eat there at all (not even in your car) which is there way of guaranteeing no one stays all day.  But if you ate a generous brunch, this is a very affordable and fun alternative to a waterpark.  Not only is there the actual sliding rock, but you could also play in the river without waiting in line (the line is pretty long, but worth it.)  I went down three times and Lydia went down twice.  I could have stayed, or probably gone back to Looking Glass, but Lydia firmly said she wasn't the mood for being in the water anymore (crazy person) and was hungry (oh, well, that's not that crazy...) and so we searched for a place to picnic.
Lydia coming down Sliding Rock
Whoo hoo! :)
We ended up going to the Pink Beds Picnic Area. We didn't know why it was called that, since there was nothing pink we could see, but it was lovely. Lydia later asked at the Ranger's Station, and they said it had to the with it being a rare kind of Appalachian bog? Regardless, what we saw was a lovely meadow, surrounded by forest, with a mountain rising up behind it.  It was peaceful and sunny and we had lunch and enjoyed watching children playing.
Pink Beds Picnic Area
Me, at Pink Beds, having lunch
We left and decided to head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a few miles up, to find an overlook and get some mountain range pictures, which we hadn't had yet. We just stopped at the first overlook, which wasn't the best I'd ever seen but did it's job.
View from the overlook
We decided to try to go to Moore Cove Falls next, which I hadn't seen before, but before we got there, we decided to pull into the Cradle of Forestry area.  We didn't end up going in, because it was $5 per adult. Which wasn't bad, considering all they offered, but we'd not planned ahead for it and it wasn't in the budget. Maybe next time.
Me at the Overlook
Then we tried to go to Moore Cove Falls, which was supposed to be a .7 mile hike off the main road... except the trail head was taped off with a sign hanging off it saying "Trail Closed for Maintainence". Darn.  Especially since apparently the trail leads you to a cave behind the waterfall. Doesn't that sound magical?  Maybe next time.

That's when we stopped by the Ranger's Station, where we picked up some things in the gift stop to give to our friend Shilo whose wedding we'd be going to the next day (and who is an intense nature lover and vegan, so this was an appropriate place to shop for her).  Then we went back to the campsite and had dinner.

I wanted to head to the swimming hole again.  She resisted, because water doesn't have the same draw for her as it does for me. But we'd brought a bandmintion/volleyball set we'd never set up and we packed it in the car, trying to start cleaning up, we decided to take the rackets and birdie to the water. I got in and she stood on the bank and we played. Neither of us are good, but it was funny and a few kids grabbed rackets and joined us.  Then I took my racket to shore and swam some more.  Lydia went tubing again, then went got and her guitar and perched on the bank and serenaded the swimmers.  The draw water has for me, music has for her, so we were both quite happy.  We stayed until the sun went down.
Lydia playing at the s'mores fest.
We went back to camp and tried to have a s'more fest.  We couldn't get the wood to catch fire, so we kept shoving in papers and throwing fuel alcohol on it (as lighter fluid).  We sang songs as Lydia played guitar. It was fun. Then we made sure everything that could be was packed away, because we were setting the alarm for 6:00am. We had to leave by 8:30 in order to get to Shilo's wedding in time.
Roasting marshmellows
It was a WONDERFUL, AMAZING trip and I had SO MUCH fun!


  1. Sounds about right, though you make it sound like I don't like getting wet. You know the real reason I was not keen on being in and out of the water all the time that particular weekend...

  2. Yes, but all I was trying to emphasize was how much I love to swim, not your lack of love. :) So for the record, internet peoples: Lydia does enjoy swimming. (But she likes music more.)


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