Here is a picture of Sharp Top Mountain, taken from the Lodge, that shows how almost perfectly conical it is.
To get to today’s target of Apple Orchard Falls we had two options. One was to park at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and then hike a 2.8 mile round trip to the falls. This hike starts above the falls and was a 1000 vertical foot drop get to the base. Of course you had to climb back up on the return.
The other was to drive about 5 miles in on a dirt road to a trailhead below the falls. This was a 1.5 mile return trip that climbed 600 vertical feet up to the falls. This one had everything going for it. Shorter, less climbing and you go downhill on the way back. No contest.
There was a sign warning that the road was rough but it was easy compared to the things we have taken the CRV onto.
Only a few rocky spots to go really slow on.
There were a bunch of cars parked at the overlook so we figured that we would meet a lot of people at the falls that had come that way. The only people we did meet was a local family that eventually got to the falls the same way we did.
The trail started out wide and smooth with a gentle grade.
We followed the creek most of the time and there were some amazingly well built bridges, for the times we had to cross it.
Partway along the trail this sign appeared beside the path. There was no trail junction so it didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know. We wondered what had gnawed on it,
We had never seen, what we assume is, a red fungus on a log.
As we got closer to the falls it got steeper and rockier.
There was another solid walkway built along the base of the falls.
It had a beautiful curved section.
Even the floor boards were curved.
As usual I have to climb up. First one side.
I wondered if there was any way to get on top of the huge rock on the other side. I climbed back down, crossed the bridge and to check out the climb.
It may not look it but there was a way up.
There was quite a large flat area up there.
I headed back down and joined Jennie for lunch on the bench. We couldn’t sit still long. There were a lot of flies and, more worrisome, bees around.
Before we left I checked out the start of the alternate trail back.
I think we made the right choice.
You gotta love a downhill return path.