The climb

Posted on June 26, 2011. Filed under: Sporty |

On May 18th we were blessed to be able to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary!  I say blessed especially because we were able to celebrate together.  I honestly can’t remember the last time we celebrated our anniversary together on the actual day.  In fact we were even apart for our first anniversary!  Erik left (we were living in Jacksonville, FL) the week before to come to DC for an internship.

Looking back, 8 years doesn’t seem like that long ago but when I look at all that has happened over the last 8 years I wonder how it all fit!!  So, this was a very special week.  We got to spend 3 days in the Shenendoah’s just enjoying each other’s company, talking, watching movies, and hiking!  This was our first visit in over 6 years of living here that we went to visit the Mountains.  Although, we can see them as we pull out onto 29 almost every day, we have never walked their trails.

On Thursday May 19th we stopped at the visitor center to see what our options for hiking to a waterfall would be.  Sadly, we only had 2 options: a 1.5 mile trail to a “cascade,” or a 6.5 mile trail to the tallest waterfall in the park!  Although the tallest waterfall was very tempting, we were hoping for something inbetween to get started.  We decided since, it was our first time, we’ll start with the small one and see how it goes.

We did the small hike on Thursday and added a bit to it at the end which made it more of a 2 mile hike.  The cascade was beautiful (pictured below) but still left us yearning for something more.  However, we enjoyed our hike and the rest of the day together.

Thursday night, we decided that a 6.5 mile hike didn’t sound SO intimidating and we’ll get up early and give it a shot.  Friday morning came and went, as the alarm we had set was from when Erik was in Afghanistan.  Turns out Friday was the only day not included on the alarm we thought we had set.  This set us back quite a few hours, and we had a decision to make.  What were we going to cut out from our day?  We decided to go ahead with the hike since we weren’t sure when we would come back to do it again.

We knew that we would need to hike down to the waterfall and then the majority or the return hike would be up hill.  So, we started on our way.  About halfway to the waterfall we ran into an older couple on their way back.  They were talkers but SO informative!  They live in Manassas and come hiking 3 days a week!  They told us the best way to go, and encouraged us to keep going… you’ll know when you see it.  They also told us the best path to take back.  They also informed us that we would be walking through a little creek but we could cross by stepping on the rocks.  Here’s a pic of Erik crossing it… with my balance I opted to get my feet wet and just walked through it.

So, on our way, after the creek.  We passed another couple.  This couple looked exhausted and they were also on their way back.  They told us, the waterfall wasn’t much to see and you had to look at it through the woods and it wasn’t worth it.  We told them about what the other couple had told us and ensured them that it must be there!  We asked if they wanted to continue with us but they were convinced there was nothing to see and continued on.  So did we.

We hiked on past the first small waterfall, then we passed a larger waterfall that was nice but not amazing, so we kept going; keeping in mind what the first couple had told us.  They had said that there was a series of 3 waterfalls “You think you miss it but just keep hiking and you’ll get there; it’s on the other side of a gorge.”  They said it was the best they had ever seen it because of all the rain.  So we kept going.  The last bit was tough because the “steps” we were walking down were about as high as my knee.  I knew i would have to come back up them but did not want to think about it then.  Then, what we had been hearing and hoping was THE waterfall came into sight as we turned the corner!

You can’t see the whole thing but it is magnificent!  Truly breathtaking!!  So, we hung out on this rock for a bit enjoying the view of the waterfall on the left, and the mountains on out right.

It was so worth it!  One of my first thoughts was about the couple who had turned around.  I immediately felt bad for them.  Then I thought about the 2 couples we had run into and the differences between them.  One couple was energetic and encouraging while the other was discouraged and weary.  We had a choice of which couple to listen to.  Had we listened to the discouraged and weary couple we would have missed out on an amazing adventure.  So glad we were able to add this to our list of thing we’ve done and will do again!!

So, I know it was long and a bit rambly but I just had to get a blog posted to see if it would get me over that block i’ve been getting every time I sit down to write!

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