Sunday dawned clear and crisp. Blue sky as far as the eye could see and a temperature probably best described as balmy. We filled the CamelBaks, grabbed some snacks and drove south for about ninety minutes. Our destination was White Oak Canyon, a very popular hiking trail near the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
After a quick chat with the friendly park ranger – dressed just like the ranger from Yogi Bear – we made our way across the bridge and into the cool and quiet of the forest.
There are five waterfalls, and numerous cascades and pools along the trail, and our goal was to get the girls to the first set of major falls. It was not a difficult hike and Olive particularly loves being out in the bush. She charges along stopping to admire anything and everything as well as climbing on anything that looks mountable. Edie can find things a bit tougher but we find that if one of us walks right next to her and keeps up a continuous stream of conversation she soon finds she has gone much further than she thought was possible.
The flow of hikers was steady but the track was by no means crowded. Dogs are allowed so the girls had many opportunities to stop, pat and “oooh” over many four legged hikers.
Soon we were at the falls – the busiest place on the trail. Groups of people were sunning themselves on the rocks, eating picnic lunches and some brave souls were even sliding down the natural slides formed on the rocks.
After a good old splash around, we dragged the girls away and began heading back to the car. Since our visit to the serpentarium in Edisto Island we’ve had a lot of conversations about seeing a snake in the wild and the right way to act, never really believing that we would actually see one. (This is despite the fact that some rather big black snakes were regular visitors to our neighbor’s back yard last summer!) Richard and Edie were walking ahead whilst Olive and I talked about what we should do if we saw a snake – not to panic, just leave it alone and all that – when out of the corner of my eye I saw Richard waving and pointing…you guessed it…
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect follow up to what we learned at the serpentarium. We all stood quietly, had a bit of a look and then moved on. The snake didn’t move a muscle. The girls were thrilled and secretly so was I. Thus far Richard has had all the wild animal action with his bear cub sighting whilst out mountain biking. I think now we can call it even. (I still live in fear of a snake dropping out of a tree onto my head – doubt very much whether I could stay calm and composed in that scenario!)
After a snake sighting, the rest of our descent was rather uneventful, except of course for just how beautiful it all was. As we drove away from the trail we encountered a lemonade and cookies stand manned by two little girls. So cute. We had to stop and give them some business.
We headed north to the small town of Flint Hill and a well deserved early dinner at the Flint Hill public house. It had a great outside area complete with hammocks and games of corn hole to keep the girls amused, whilst Mum and Dad sampled a bit of Virginia wine. The food was good too – a wonderfully relaxed end to our special Sunday.
Lots more pics from a great day out if you click on the link to my Flickr photos.
Take care everyone – sending all our love xxx