My son and I took a day to drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway today, from McDowell Co. down through Yancey Co., and along the way we stopped to see the Linville Caverns before headings to Crabtree Falls for a 5-mile hike. The weather was slightly overcast with such a cool, crisp breeze, that one might have mistaken it for fall rather than the midst of summer.
The Linville Caverns are found at the base of Humpback Mountain. In the caverns we were able to see the different rock formations in the limestone and dolomite, including stalactites, stalagmites, and pillars. Logan's favorite part was experiencing total darkness and all the cave kisses he received (when water fell on his face). Although there weren't any bats in the cavern this trip, we were able to see the rainbow and brook trout throughout the stream of water flowing through the rock. After the caves, we stopped off at one of the lookout points on the parkway for a snack before heading toward the falls. Fog was only covering the mountain peaks, so we were able to see clearly into the ravine for miles and miles.
Once at Crabtree Falls Trail, the sun had finally made its appearance of the day and we passed through fields of wildflowers before we hiked the mile and half into the falls. The trail was clear but consisted of mostly rocky terrain with a moderately steep decline. Once at the bottom, we climbed up the base of the waterfall to play in the cool water. We found several butterflies chilling in the mist of the fall before heading back down to slower moving water where we looked for water bugs and crawdads. As we headed up the other, less traveled, side of the trail, we had merely a foot of cleared path and were surrounded by tall grasses. We walked about a mile in before we decided to head back the way we came as we didn't want to run into a bear with her cubs on the other side of the mountain. As we headed back, it quickly became overcast and the rain began to pour. Luckily, the canopy was thick enough to keep us partially dry, but we weren't expecting to come across the path of several fawns flying through the trees and almost knocking us over. We barely saw the white spots on their backs to identify them as they were moving so quickly. As we climbed out of the woods and back to our car the rain increased in intensity which meant for a ride home in the rain, but it was all well worth it the trip.
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