Hiking Crabtree Falls

We had no idea what Crabtree Falls looked like or how high they were or anything that makes real sense but we were camped close by and decided to check them out. I read online that Crabtree Falls are the highest waterfall on the East Coast. Higher than the American Falls at Niagara? Hmph, I thought. This is Virginia. I’ve lived in Virginia my whole life…well, almost…and I’ve heard of them but no one has mentioned size before. I was wary, to say the least. And curious.
We parked in the $3 honor-system lot and hopped out with a large thermos full of liquid and a dog on a leash. Martina had on Crocs and was wearing $5 Wal-Mart tennies. We weren’t really prepared to hike over 2 miles. Straight up. Then over 2 miles again. Straight down.
The first view, which is what ropes you in, is just a few hundred yards up a paved pathway. Rocks. Water. 90 degree angle. A view of more falls even higher up…this is where it begins to get hairy. There are wooden stairs but no more pavement. The path consists of rocks and roots (I think this is what makes it stick to the side of the mountain). So up the path, up some stairs that open onto more path and eventually you get another breathtaking view of the falls (and believe me, I’d share some photos with you but after deleting a large number of programs and files from my pc, I still can’t get up enough speed to load a much-reduced in file size photo. Dammit!)
Martina made it most of the way up but eventually Travis decided he had to have food and the two of them took the doggie and headed back down. I was worried but really wanted to see the top and hear the Siren’s call of the falls that had 23 people (on record) fall to their deaths trying to see over the edge. I also wanted the feeling that I had completed the hike, despite being a fat, middle-aged mother of many. Mark and I hiked up, the kids and dog hiked down. Martina fell. Jasmine stepped on a copperhead. Travis yanked her airborne by her leash. The snake slithered away. No family members were injured.
When we topped the falls the view was magnificent, except for the view of the falls which you could not see at all from up there. Hence the 23 people. The Sirens sang but I knew enough to stuff my fingers in my ears and hum Tell It To Me. Mark and I sat on a big flat shady rock and dangled our pale white sweaty toes in the cold water. I figure the water disinfects itself zooming over all those rocks, so I didn’t feel bad at all about the foot odor or anything.
We hiked down. By the bottom my legs were jellified and trembling. Mark stopped to take a photo of a family by the lower fall. I hiked the last few yards to the van where I collapsed into the seat and ate a nectarine.
Great hike. Great day. Excellent views. Big-ass waterfall. Way taller than anything Niagara has to offer but you can only see it in pieces which lessens the effect comparatively. The trail is actually nicely maintained and though you wonder the whole way up, ‘Is this it? Are we at the top yet?’ When you get to the top, you know. No question, just a whole big bunch of air and long, blue mountains way over yonder.

About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
This entry was posted in family, health and well-being, Mark, Martina, personal, reviews, travel, Travis. Bookmark the permalink.

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