Greetings from northern Virginia! Yep, I’m traveling again, but this time it’s purely for fun. And am I ever having fun! cue: boring vacation photos
I left home at 6 a.m. Sunday and stopped at Burgess Falls State Park in Cookeville, TN. I’ve visited and passed this area more times than I can count, but finally took time to check out this park I’ve heard so much about.
Burgess Falls is a series of falls actually. The first falls:
The trail up is not only NOT paved, it’s not a particularly “clean” trail:
In addition to a million (or so) tree roots and a rain-slick, slippery-leaf trail to navigate, there are rocks jutting up in inappropriate places. Well, I guess it’s appropriate if you’re into the natural state. For someone not known for grace and coordination, the obstacles were a little unnerving at times.
About a half-mile of hiking later, the middle falls:
I immediately forgave Mother Nature for the tree roots and rocks. These falls were magnificent. I could’ve stared at them for hours, but I had a little bit more hiking to do, not to mention another 300 miles to drive.
Unfortunately, the last bit of hiking was almost straight up, with lots of this going on:
I will NEVER again feel like a gym geek for hauling my bench step into the gym with me. The hundreds (thousands?) of step-ups paid off in how easily I was able to climb. And climb and climb. Even if my quads had been screaming bloody murder, seeing the big falls would have made it worthwhile. Oh my word:
There’s an observation deck for standing and gawking, which I did for quite a while. As I was reluctantly turning to leave, I spotted this sign:
Y’all know me. I hike my subdivision and Target. Paved greenbelts. Beaches. Not trails (well, there was that one time) and certainly not “very strenuous” trails.
Oh yes I did! I didn’t make it ALL the way down. I was by myself and there was some boulder clambering required to get to the very bottom, so I satisfied myself with stopping at the halfway point. I’ll go to the bottom when there are others there to call for a rescue team.
After making my way back UP the cliff to the top (I see were they get the “very” in “very strenuous”), I reluctantly backtracked to my car. Along the way, I encountered the worst obstacles of all: hordes of other people! It was after noon by that point, and people were flocking to the trail. And, of course, I’d meet them at some juncture of the path that was intended for one person to walk on. Lots of twisting and side-stepping involved. More good core work.
So. That was an exciting start to the trip! Next stop: Abingdon, VA and The Virginia Creeper Trail.
This trail is about 34-35 miles long and is really popular among cyclists. I hope to ride it some day, but with only a short time available, had hoped to walk in a couple miles for a good leg stretch and mind-clearing.
Thanks to overnight rains, the cinder path was more cinder-ish, if you know what I mean, and I was wearing my new Asics. As you know, these shoes don’t do mud, so I returned to my natural habitat and hiked the sidewalks of downtown Abingdon which was quite an enjoyable experience in its own right.
Yesterday was a wash-out, literally. I had planned to tour Staunton, VA all morning, but pouring rain shortened that excursion. Lovely city that I hope to explore more fully on my trip up here.
Lots to see and do here if you’re not soggy. I’m eager to go back on a sunny day.
That wouldn’t be today. More steady rain moving through and I get to cross the Capitol Beltway in it. This is the third time I’ve had to cross Washington in a torrential downpour. I must remember to make a potty stop before I get into the city.
I’ll be meeting friends later today (so!excited!) and gearing up for a weekend of fun before setting off for home on Monday. I hope you’re having a splendid AND DRY week and that you’ll have a marvelous weekend!