Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas on the Trail: Crabtree Falls, Beauty and Mystery

The 1,000-foot-high falls overlooks Leah as she climbs.
Even in winter, it's gorgeous.
My friend Leah Weiss and I began what I hope is a Christmas tradition today with a hike into one of the wondrous corners of our mountains: Crabtree Falls in Nelson County. This is a string of waterfalls, counting 1,000 feet ultimately and the hike is almost straight up the side of the mountain.

It's 3.4 miles and I don't know whether it's more tiring going up or coming down, but it is breathtakingly beautiful either way.

Here is some of what we saw today. I look forward to a series of Christmas hikes in the future--if I get to live that long. What a wondrous way to spend one of my favorite days of the year.

We ran into some delightful people with the same idea we had, and also a couple of mysteries. Leah rested in a bench dedicated to a man named Bill Christmas, who died in 1978 at 22. Did he fall into the waterfall at this dangerous junction?

A bit further up, I discovered a bunch of roses and a photograph of a pretty young blonde. What's the story there?

The falls are quite dangerous in many places, but far less dangerous today with all the build-up than in the past. It's worth your time to walk it.

The water is powerful and beautiful, the colors vivid.
Leah at the entrance to the trail, ready to hike.
Steps are steep and today they were wet.
Happy? Yep. Doing what I love to do.
The prettiest girl in the room, even the big room.
Meandering nicely.
The falls fall in pieces.
And here's another piece.
The trail was wet, dangerous.
More steep steps.
Pampa the hikerman at the halfway point.
These guys grow on the logs and catch my eye every time.
This bench is a memorial to Bill Christmas, who died at 22 in 1978, perhaps on the trail. I don't know.
Little Red Leah-hood: Black and white and color.
Pampa in red.
Top of the falls.
This is the view from the top of the falls. Can't see the water.
Roses and a photo and a lot of questions why.
Leah coming down ...
... and down and down and down ...

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