Yesterday we did another short 1 hour drive, a bit east and and bit north, to the Linville Falls Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We got into the campground just before lunch and it was empty. The only sites occupied were the campground hosts and they weren’t even there. Good thing I reserved a spot.
There are no hookups so we are relying on on own tanks and solar power. Our cell phone can just barely connect but unfortunately our 3G internet hotspot cannot. We will have to go into town to get email and post to the blog.
We made a quick trip over to the small visitor’s center nearby and then came back and just relaxed all afternoon.
I was sitting outside and then heard a loud rumbling off in the distance. I wondered if it was a truck or the wind when I started to feel a few drops of rain. I almost made it back inside before the wall of water hit. From about 4 p until after 8 it just came down in buckets. I heard on our weather radio that there were flood warning all around us.
As the name suggests our campground is very close to Linville Falls in Linville Gorge. Today we did two short but strenuous hikes, one on each side of the gorge. We got to 4 different lookouts that surrounded the falls from all angles, close, far, up high and down low. We hiked about 3.5 miles.
The first part of trail 1 up to the Y was uphill but fairly smooth.
The side trip down to Viewpoint 1, called the Plunge Basin Overlook, was quiet steep with a lot of steps that were still slippery because of the rain yesterday.
We got a side view of the lower falls from here. The water has eroded the cliff enough that the falls start from a channel partway down the cliff face.
It almost seems that the water emerges from a tunnel before taking a right turn to go over the falls. As we will see from viewpoint 3 it is not really a tunnel but a very deep channel.
Onwards and back upwards.
We headed back to the Y to take the other branch down to the base of the falls at the bottom of the Gorge. The branch is only about 1/2 mile but it is rated strenuous and they mean it. It is VERY steep with lots of big steps over rocks and roots. The roots were especially slick this morning and we both almost took tumbles.
The was one of the better sections where I could take the camera out.
After the trail made its big turn back towards the falls, we realized the reason for the detour. We had to go around this enormous sheer cliff, that was now above us.
It even gave me a bit of vertigo to stare upwards.
This root had some interesting patterns.
We wondered if these blocks had fallen from the cliff above us.
When we finally got down to the river the view of the falls was not that great.
I had read that it was possible to work your way closer but it usually required lower water levels, which was not now, but I tried anyway.
I made it up the first obstacle.
But then I was faced with this. The cliff to the right is sheer. I could wade through the water down on the right or go across these logs. I decided that this was a NOPE moment.
Still not a very good view.
Retreat and try another spot.
Holding my camera out as far as I could reach.
Looking back at Jennie I realized I should try the rock beside her.
It actually had the best view.
Jennie even came up and we were going to have lunch there.
Almost as soon as we settled in it started to rain. It got harder and harder so we abandoned our position for a rock under the overhanging ledge.
Notice that we have had the place to ourselves. The one other person we saw arrived just as the rain started and left before it ended. All he had brought with him was a water bottle so he got soaked.
The rain only lasted about 10 minutes. We were pretty dry in our hideaway.
After a short while the sun even came out.
Back up to my rocky perch.
Back up we go.
The trail on the other side of the gorge was much easier.
The third viewpoint was of the small upper falls, just above the ones we had been at.
You also got a view down into the chute that was feeding the lower falls.
The final viewpoint was called Chimney View and was almost directly above our lunch spot.
The logs that stopped me.
The viewpoint over the falls was getting pretty crowded. Two busloads of kids had arrived.
I think that pretty much covers that waterfall.
Back at the campground, it is starting to fill up for the weekend but there are still lots of empty spots.