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This weekend I went up to the mountains with the plan of visiting two different waterfalls to take pictures. It was a beautiful day for the drive, and the Blue Ridge Parkway definitely had to be one of the most beautiful places anyone could possibly wish to be. I was quickly reminded of how much I love taking nature and landscape photos. There’s no one to complain about how they need a haircut, chose the wrong outfit...no bad moods, bad days, no schedules, etc.; no one has to approve the photos... just me and my camera and what my eye can see before me. It was the perfect day. Whenever I ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway it is hard not to stop at every scenic overview... and each overview seems like it has to be the most beautiful (at least until I pull over at the next one.) I did meet my goal of getting to both of the falls - Looking Glass and Crabtree Falls. Looking Glass Falls is right off the side of the road, and just a few miles off of the parkway. It was rather crowded, and for me that seemed to take some of the beauty away. Something so beautiful as these natural waterfalls somehow needs to be experienced in a quiet and peaceful way...just taking in the beauty. As I would go to take a shot with my camera, it seemed almost more private than what I was viewing outside of my camera. Magically, the camera would allow me to zoom in so as not to have the many other visitors in the photo. There was a part of me that wanted to say “shhhhh....” to all of the people around, many of whom hadn’t really seemed to notice how beautiful this huge waterfall was right before them. I imagine there are many people who never get to actually stand this close, so some kind of reverence seemed in order. While it was not Niagara Falls, it was nonetheless beautiful and breathtaking...deserving of a quiet moment. I was climbing on some rocks, trying to get a position that I could actually get a picture without all of the people who were jumping around in the ice cold water when I looked down and noticed this HUGE spider on the side of a log (the same log that I had to climb up to get on these rocks!) It really changed the beauty of the moment for me - and brought me right into reality! But not for long. I did keep my eye on him...sure didn’t want him moving towards me...but I also took plenty of photos of that beautiful waterfall. After that the drive was on towards Crabtree Falls -- maybe an hour and a half drive away or more on the beautiful parkway. For me is was quite a bit more, as I stopped constantly at the scenic overviews either to just take a peek or to actually take a picture. When I got to Crabtree Falls, the area was really deserted. It was 5 pm, which didn’t seem late at all. So off on the hike I headed. Only a mile down to the falls...only there wasn’t mention of the fact that much of it was practically straight down. About 30-40 minutes later, and several slips in the mud (as I also wondered if I had gotten off the path and ended up in the creek, which I hadn’t - it was just a muddy path!) and there I was in the most secluded place - with this huge beautiful waterfall in front of me. Absolutely breathtaking. Even though there was still plenty of daylight, it was dark in the woods there because it was so deep in the trees. But that was ok. It was worth it all. I got the shots I went after. And there is was peaceful and serene.
All in all it was a beautiful day. It was reaffirmed to me that North Carolina is the most beautiful place in the world, and the Blue Ridge Parkway is as magical to me now as it was when I was a child. And all of the sore muscles today from climbing and hiking and (yes - a couple of slips, trips and slight falls) were so worth it. And I’m pretty sure that even if does turn out that those plants I ended up in the middle of were poison ivy, I will still feel like it was a perfect day.