Trying to forget about the disappointment yesterday (Tuesday) of not hiking to the top of North Carolina’s Chimney Rock, we traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway north to return to Mount Mitchell (via NC Hwy 128 at MP 350) to walk to the summit (it was raining during our trip here last week). At Milepost 361.2, we stopped to view Glassmine Falls. While the sign at the overlook claims it is 800 feet tall, it is likely only about a 200-foot drop. This is the only view of Glassmine Falls, and you cannot hike to its base.
Just after beginning the short hike, the mountain became shrouded in light mist. Further up the trail, the mist became heavier, turning into a light rain. Though we brought raincoats, neither of us had thought to take them out of the car! By the time we returned in a full blown rain, we were soaked; thankfully, the camera and lens were water resistant.
From Mount Mitchell, we continued north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Crabtree Falls, MP 339.5. The Falls is accessible via a 3-mile woodland hiking trail, with a steady and sometimes difficult descent and return climb on craggy rocks and stone staircases. The 70-ft. waterfall was worth the trek! Once again, few people on the trail wore masks.
On a roll, we continued north to Linville Falls, MP 316.3. Linville Falls is the most visited and photographed waterfalls in North Carolina. The Falls drops 90 feet into the 12-mile long Linville Gorge with cliffs towering above the river. We took the Erwin View Trail, an easy 1.0 mile roundtrip hike to the Upper Falls overlook. At the Upper Falls overlook, one can observe the cascades and watch the water rush into a narrow canyon before it plunges 45 feet over the lower falls. A quarter mile further, the Chimney View overlook offers an excellent chance to photograph both the upper and lower falls, along with the impressive cliffs. Because of the crowds and lack of “masking”, we did not do this segment. This falls reminded us of the Athabaska Falls between Banff and Jasper in Alberta, Canada.
On the two-hour return trip to the motorhome, we stopped at Walgreens in Waynesville to pick up an early birthday present for yours truly, a 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD from Tamron to use on the Sony a7riii mirrorless camera. (Another thing 8 learned from a Getaway Couple (https://www.getawaycouple.com) was that each Walgreens has a delivery station for FedEx (a great asset for travelers). Back at the motorhome, we collapsed and thoroughly enjoyed an adult beverage before showers and bed.
What a beautiful hike, but you had to work pretty hard in some areas – especially the rubble and those stone steps. However, I have a feeling it was worth it in the end and probably wouldn’t stop us from doing it either.
Good hike; not too bad. Pretty waterfalls, but not many hikers were masked.
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