My hiking compadre, Susan, and I challenged Apple Orchard Falls yesterday, a day when the humidity was so high, the walk felt like wading. The temperature was no New England fall, either.
This was a test of our endurance and for me, it came a week before my 74th birthday, so I was not as confident as a bullet-proof kid.
But, because the hike is one of the best in these mountains–where great hikes are the norm–we stayed focused on nature’s beauty, rather than her challenges and we soared up to the falls. This is probably a high-moderate hike (4 miles, 800 feet of elevation) on a cool day, but yesterday, I’d say it ventured into “difficult” range. The last 400 yards of the hike is more of a climb/scramble over large rocks before emerging into the open with the high, gorgeous waterfall–the one I consider the prettiest–all things considered–that I’ve seen in Western Virginia.
The odd aspect of this hike for me is that I thought I had walked it before, but as my steps mounted up, I saw nothing that was familiar to me and finally determined that I’d never climbed Apple Orchard Falls.
So, I took full advantage, climbing into the rocks beneath the falls and getting a wondrous soaking, a kind of initiation. On the way up, both Susan and I took advantage of the mini-falls–about four of them–to cool off. I even took off my shirt and soaked it in the cold water, then slid it back on at one point.
This is a good hike, especially if you’re either younger than me or in better shape than me, but I loved every step. Susan said she did, too. Here are some photos from the walk.