I’ve enjoyed this place for decades, but if you go in the summer on a weekend you will be surrounded by many hundreds of other people—in the thousands on some days. But today was a Monday, and the weather was a bit cold. I never saw another person all day long on the trails. Not one other human. I wasn’t bothered by a voice, and I didn’t even hear the rumble of a car or truck engine. Even the skies were clear of that normally annoying scrape of passenger jets rubbing against the skies. The only sounds with me were the winds, some bird songs, and often the roar of creeks and waterfalls bloated with recent heavy rains.
It was nice.
|Standing beside Harper Creek.|
|Harper Creek, the sun creeping into the gorge.|
|Harper Creek Falls. Mud and slick rock prevented me from climbing down into the gorge to get some better photos of this powerful waterfall.|
|At the boulder field between the creek and a great campsite.|
|I’ve wanted to camp here for decades. I’ll do it this year.|
|I’ll bet this stretch of trail is amazing when the rhododendron are in bloom.|
|On breezy Darkside Cliffs enjoying the view of Grandfather Mountain.|
|Grandfather Mountain/Tanawha with the Linn Cove Viaduct far below it. When many people see photos of this peak (highest in the Blue Ridge Mountains), they think it is a photo of a western peak.|
|Looking at (I think) the Harper Creek drainage from Darkside Cliffs.|
|The Tanawha massif as seen from Darkside Cliffs.|