We went for a long hike yesterday on one of the many campus trails. There is a main trail running all around the "domain" (the 10,000 acres of the campus) called Perimeter Trail and there are various points to access it, usually these points are at a vista. They all have names like Green's View, Morgan's Steep etc. since we live at the top of a mountain and they look out at the towns below. Anyway, we had heard that Morgan's Steep was part of the Perimeter Trail but that it branched off onto a secondary trail called Bridal Veil Falls Trail and at the end there is a nice waterfall. We packed up water and the kid backpacks and we were prepared to do a "real" hike. We looked at the trail map and decided it might be a mile one-way trip and we thought we could handle that so we headed out.
The scenery was amazing! The first part is at a cliff edge looking into this rocky valley area, you hike around all that and, if it had rained recently, there would probably be a nice creek running along side you the whole time. Then you come to these huge rock faces and cave areas, The vegetation is much thicker down here and very high on both sides which makes the trail a little less than single-file. J&A hiked up to the cave area, but I was afraid we'd disturb some coyote den or something so (H) and I stayed below. It was SO wild and undisturbed that I was afraid a couple of times about what we might run into when we turned the next corner. It's the same feeling I get when I'm way out in the ocean, like I'm trespassing into another world and I'm not really supposed to be there. I love it, but it's scary too sometimes.
Some parts of the trail we're so dense you couldn't see very far ahead of you, but some areas were more open forests with tall trees and less undergrowth. It's strange how much the landscape changed as we changed elevation.
We finally got to this split in the trail and didn't know which way to the waterfall so we went right. After a few hundred feet we found our path blocked by a huge fallen tree. Josh hopped over it, and of course the kids wanted to too.
He discovered the trail was pretty much completely covered by the tree so we stopped and took a water break. We'd been hiking for over an hour and (H) was getting tired, so we decided to go back down the other side of the trail and see if we could get to the waterfall quickly. Once we got to the fork in the trail, we went a little bit further but couldn't see any area that looked like there might be a waterfall nearby. Our bodies were already a little tired and we knew most of the way back was VERY steep uphill climbs, so we headed back. (H) fell asleep on the way back up which was slightly uncomfortable
(his head was resting on my neck and not allowing me to look all the way up) and we started to hear thunder, so I think it was good thing we headed back when we did, although I am disappointed we didn't get to see the falls. When we got to the top, huffing and puffing, I looked at the map again and I think if we'd just have gone a little further down we would have been there. Apparently there are a lot of caves there too. It started raining so we hopped in the car and went home (but first we stopped by the library for free movie rentals). It was a lot of fun, and now that we know the trail and kind of what to expect, I know we could do it again and make it easily to the waterfall. Coming back up is a real challenge though and our muscles are a little sore today.
The rain yesterday cooled things off considerably. It's in the 70's today, we have all the windows open and tonight it's supposed to be in the 50's! Yay! It's that little taste of Fall that makes you want to make soup and curl up under a blanket. Next week life will be pretty different for us, not as much playing and freetime since ^J^ will be starting orientation. It'll be good for us to get into a routine, but I know we'll miss seeing him all the time like we've gotten used to.
We'll just have to live it up this weekend...the unpacked boxes can wait.