Damascus, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail / Green Cove Station

We thought that this was going to be the last section of the Creeper Trail. Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station (approximately 6 miles round trip). Wellllll, found out that there is still about 1 1/2 miles of trail even past Whitetop. But, that section of the trail is only open to hikers. Bikes are not allowed on the section past Whitetop Station. The 1 1/2 miles past Whitetop Station takes you to the North Carolina state line, and ends there.

But, this section of the trail. Not quite like the previous sections of the trail where you travel a lot along the river. But, it’s unique in it’s own way. You walk by a Christmas Tree farm. Actually, most of the rest of the trail to Whitetop Station is through the woods. I also thought it quite interesting that you see quite a few trails off of this particular section of the trail.

Here are a few photos that show this portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail. To see a brief explanation of the photos, run your cursor over the photos.

Directions: From Bristol, TN, take I-81 North approximately 19 miles getting off on Exit 19 (Hwy 58). Turn right and drive approximately 24 miles on Hwy 58. Turn right onto Green Cove Rd. Green Cove Station is 4/10 of a mile on the right.

1 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V01

2 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D310004

3 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V106

4 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V86

5 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D3100100

6 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V90

7 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V22

8 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V47

9 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D310055

10 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D310074

11 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D310093

12 2013-02-24-Virginia Creeper Trail-Green Cove Station to Whitetop Station-Nikon D310083

Valle Crucis, NC – Crab Orchard Falls

On February 23rd, we wanted to go to Boone, NC, so we decided to do a short / strenuous hike to Crab Orchard Falls.

To get to Crab Orchard Falls, you have to park at the Valle Crucis Conference Center which is a historic mission school. Let me tell ya! This is only 1/2 mile, but you sure get a work-out. When you start out on the trail, you are at an elevation of 2,785 feet. At 4/10 of a mile (before you head down the trail that takes you to the falls), you are at an elevation of 3,110 feet.

This seems to be a very high waterfall, but from what I have read, due to the many levels of the falls, and the difficulty of getting to the different parts of the falls, no one has ever officially measured the height of the falls. I wish I could say that we ended up with some amazing pictures of the waterfall. But, others are right. It’s a very hard waterfall to photograph. Run your cursor over each picture for a brief description.

Directions: From Elizabethton, TN, take Hwy 19E 24 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 194. Take Hwy 194 13 miles. Take a left into the Valle Crucis Conference Center.

1 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V01

2 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V04

3 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V06

4 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V12

5 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V111

6 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V15

7 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Nikon D310016

8 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V25

9 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V32

10 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V33

11 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Nikon D310027

12 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Nikon D310075

13 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V56

14 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Nikon D310031

15 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Nikon D310039

16 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V87

17 2013-02-23-Crab Orchard Falls-Sony Cybershot DSC-HX200V10

Abingdon, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail / Watauga Trestle Trailhead

Today we wanted to do something more local since we had to go to work the next day. We decided to do a portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail that we had completed in the past. We parked at the Watauga Trestle parking area and headed towards Alvarado Station. We didn’t plan on walking all the way to Alavardo Station. We decided to walk to where Trestle 7 used to be. In 2011, Trestle 7 was demolished by a tornado. This ended being approximately 4 miles round trip. Here are a few photos from this walk.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Greenville, SC – Lake Conestee Nature Park

I am now going to officially be caught up with my posts. We haven’t walked / hiked in the past 2 days. We were supposed to have snow yesterday, but only received a dusting. Today, it’s in the 30’s and windy. We don’t do 30’s with wind. This trip here was our Friday trip. We both took the day off and went to Greenville, SC. I wanted to go to Raven Cliff Falls on the way. But, Steve didn’t want to do rushing water. So, we thought we’d check out this nature park while we were in Greenville.

So, we start our walk through this nature park, and we start thinking that this is going to be a bust. But, we ended up really liking this park. Ends up that it’s a wildlife sanctuary, and we ran across some interesting wildlife as you will see in our photos below. Alot of people go here to do birding.

There are 5 different parking areas for this park. We chose the parking area on Fork Shoals Rd. We chose this parking area because it said that the “park office” was there. All it was, was an old house that is probably just that. An office. I was hoping for a park office where you could possibly purchase a t-shirt or something. It wasn’t. We had a little picnic there (we stopped at Veg Heads in Asheville and picked up lunch), and then hit the trail.

Most of the trails in this park are paved / easy trails. On the trail that we took, we soon came to a split in the trail. We took the trail to the right, which is the Swamp Rabbit Trail. This trail is 1.9 miles one way. On the way back, we took a trail / boardwalk across a swampy area, but we eventually ended back up on our original trail. The photos below will show you what all we saw. Place your cursor over each photo for a brief description.

Directions: From Johnson City, TN, take I-26 to into North Carolina. After approximately 88 miles, you will take exit 54 onto Hwy 25 to Greenville SC. Travel approximately 31 miles and turn left on SC253 (State Park Rd). Travel a little over 3 miles, and bear right on SC291 (Pleasantburg Dr). Travel approximately 6 1/2 miles, and turn left oton Old Augusta Rd. After 1/2 mile, bear left on Fork Shoals Rd. At 7/10 of a mile, turn left into the park (warning: it looks like someone’s driveway and I had to go up the road and turn around because I didn’t turn).

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Church Hill, TN – Laurel Run Park

I’d like to call this post Laurel Run Falls and Kiner Creek Falls, but the falls thing didn’t quite work out for us. If I had exhibited a little common sense before we set out, I would have known that after rain / snow, that the creek crossings wouldn’t be near as easy as they were when we took the trail the last time when it had been pretty dry.

But, I can tell you about the park and a little about the trail. It’s a nice park to come to and have a picnic. There is a playground for the kids. It’s right on Holston River. We didn’t walk around the entire park, but it looked like there was a nice walking track. On their Facebook page, it shows tennis courts and an area to play volleyball.

But, as for our walk on the trail. Since we had all the rain / snow, we thought this would be a good time to attempt the falls again. We had attempted the falls previously, but it had been dry, and more than likely we walked right by where the falls should have been. When we first started out on the trail, I was very surprised. Looks like they had some equipment out on the trail and widened / laid rock on the trail (for only a little ways). Also, the last time, there were no bridges. And, probably 1/10 of a mile into the walk, it looked like a new bridge had just recently been built. You shortly then come across a log cabin and another little log building. The trail eventually starts climbing, and you will be walking high above the river. There were several places where the trail was very muddy. This is about the muddiest trail I’ve ever experienced. But, if the trail isn’t muddy, we’ve probably not had much rain, and the falls with be nothing. Now, we’re getting ready to run into a little problem. We start descending down towards the river, come around a curve, and a creek with no bridge. As I stated earlier, we should have been prepared with our walking sticks because I walked around and just couldn’t find a good / safe place to cross the creek where we would be sure that we wouldn’t lose our balance and fall in the creek. It was just too cold to be taking an unexpected swim in the creek. So, we turned around and headed back to the park. We walked around the park, down by the river. There was even a little trail beside of Holston River that is only about 1/4 mile.

But, we will be back. When we’re sure there will be plenty of water due to rain / snow, we’ll be back / ready / prepared with our walking sticks.

Here are a few photos. Place cursor over photo for brief description.

Direction: From the intersection of I-26 and 11W in Kingsport, travel south 8.5 miles. Turn left on Goshen Valley Rd. Travel 8/10 of a mile and turn left on River Rd. Continue 2 miles and turn left on Laurel Run Park Rd. It’s about 1.3 miles to the park. Once you arrive at the park, bear to the right and park at the amphitheater. You should see the bridge that you will cross to start the trail as you are driving into the amphitheater area.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Connelly Springs, NC – High Shoals Falls

The falls are located inside of the South Mountains State Park. Steve and I have been to this park 3 times. We didn’t make it to the falls at all the 1st time. Steve’s back went out on the trail and we had to turn around. The 2nd time this past fall, we made it to the lower, went on to the upper, and completed the 2.7 mile loop. This last time that we went, we took the family only 7/10 of a mile to the lower falls. I didn’t even want to attempt to drag mom that extra 3/10 of a mile straight up the side of the mountain. Mostly stairs. Even with the good shape that Steve and I are in, we have to stop at one of the benches and rest on our way up.

This is a real nice park. Stop in at the Visitors Center and support the park by purchasing a t-shirt. Then move onwards to the parking area for the falls. The parking area is at the very end of the main road through the park. There is a huge parking area, but the falls are very popular. Sometimes it can be challenging finding a spot. There are also plenty of picnic tables so you can have a bite to eat before hitting the trails.

Once you hit the trail, you go through the picnic area, and up onto a nice / wide / flat / easy trail. At about 4/10 of a mile, you go up steps, and things get a little rougher. Let me just tell you this. Once you walk up the steps, there is a path to your right. If you are going to do the loop, I strongly suggest that you keep going straight and take the steep way up the mountain. Taking the loop to the right would actually be more challenging. Best  to come out that way. But, as you continue straight, you will come to some steep stairs that will bring you down to the river. Then, the trail gets more challenging with roots and rocks. But, definitely not hard. No more than moderate. You eventually arrive at the lower falls after about 3/10 of a mile. They’ve built a nice boardwalk across the river. For those that like more of a challenge, keep on going on the trail and complete the loop, which takes you by the upper falls.

Hope you enjoy the photos. Remember to run your cursor over the photo for a brief description.

Directions: From the intersection of Hwy 19E / Broad St. in Elizabethton, TN, head towards North Carolina. You will drive approximately 33 miles and take a left onto Hwy 221. After approximately 1 1/2 miles, turn right onto Hwy 181. Follow Hwy 181 for approximately 31 miles, and take a right onto Old NC 18. Drive 12 miles and turn right on Wards Gap Rd. Drive 1 1/2 miles, and take the right on South Mountain Park Ave. It’s approximately 3 1/2 miles to the falls parking area. Note: As you are driving down the mountain on Hwy 181, if you watch to your right, you will see Table Rock. Also, I’d recommend stopping at the Brown Mountain Overlook for nice views.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Stuck at Home

We ended up not going off anywhere for a walk over the weekend of February 2nd / 3rd. The snow was to arrive the afternoon of the 2nd. And, it did. We were out trying to run some errands before the snow arrived. It started before we completed our errands. When we arrived back home, I chickened out and would not drive up the driveway. Steve took over, and I buckled up and closed my eyes. We slid around some, but we finally made it up the big hill. Usually once you get up the big hill, there is no problem making it the other couple of hills.

So, on Sunday 2/3, we decided to get out and take a walk on the 16 acres that we live on, and take some photographs. Hope you enjoy. Run your cursor over photo for a brief description.

Directions: NOT!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

6 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310031

7 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310046

8 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310093

9 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310054

10 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310063

11 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D310075

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

14 2013-02-03-Home-Nikon D3100140

Categories

Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog

Enjoy the Colorful Photographic Impressions created by Vann Helms

J. Robin Whitley

Life is art! Live Beautifully!

Hiking the Carolinas

Tracking Our Adventures in the Woods

Shadow River

Adventure Photography

lifeat6mph

musings on life both at sea and ashore

Go West Young WOMAN

The travels of an adventurous soul

Abingdon Outdoors

Articles, Essays & Photography

Carolina Trekker

A blog about hiking

Maple Avenue Juice

Optimal Health the Raw Juice Way!

Dining Destinations

A guide to dining destinations in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina

Blue Ridge NC Guide

Hiking Trails, History, Restaurants, Local Services, & More!

Virginia Hiking

Exploring some of Virginia's best hikes!

our gfree life

living gluten free without sacrifice

Epicurean Vegan

Healthy Eating for Discriminating Palates