Sometimes I just need to see a waterfall. Like today.
Summer in North Carolina brings some serious humidity. It turns a blissful 72 degree morning into a slobbering monster. When the sun fills the morning sky the beast gets mean and takes my breath away.
The air conditioning at my local gym has been out of service for about 3 months now. It was cute when the spring temperatures were slowly rising from the 40s to the 60s. Now that the full power of summer has arrived I’m not digging it in the least.
Yet here I am at 5:30 in the morning, walking into that building for my morning wake-up workout. A breeze floats by the front desk, briefly raising my spirits, but the hum of large fans pulls the plug on that notion.
After a long stop at the water fountain I head for the cardio machine directly in front of the largest fan. I reach my cruising speed, close my eyes and dream of cool refreshment – night swimming, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and Cedar Rock Falls…
The hardest part about the hike to Cedar Rock Falls is finding the trailhead. The parking lot at the State Fish Hatchery & Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education sprawls out in several directions. Close to the building there is an aisle with a chain across it, and a small foot bridge just beyond.
Bingo. A trail leads into the woods!
The start of the trail undulates through an open forest within view of the Hatchery. The ground is damp and the morning mountain air a bit cold. Along the ground I catch bursts of movement as water droplets bounce on large leaves.
The path descends quickly towards a heavy thicket of Rhododendron. Rushing water surges beyond the leaves, enticing me with sounds of beautiful rapids and spills. I follow a path upstream, hunting for a break in the tightly woven branches.
The plants give way to a large rock outcrop, and with a scramble I find myself midstream. A stunning waterfall pours at my feet. My eyes slowly rise from my feet to fully appreciate the shapes in front of me.
Cedar Rock Falls flows in an elegant hourglass shape. The stream briefly parts at the top and crashes together on its descent. The resulting spray nourishes a brilliant constellation of mosses around the water’s edges.
A closer look at the stone walls reveals a channel leading away from the hourglass, behind a large stone, and into another small waterfall. I negotiate the thick plants to balance my tripod.
Dark stones, soft mosses, gracefully tumbling waters and lush foliage. All work together to make this one of my favorite images. I get goosebumps especially when I dream about it on hot summer mornings!
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