Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Tale of Two Waterfalls

Our campsite at Hurricane Campground, Virginia

In October 2006 my wife and I took our travel trailer to Hurricane Campground, a National Forest campground in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. We love this section of Virginia. It's very mountainous (has the highest peaks in the state), heavily forested, and has lots of waterfalls and hiking trails. We'd long wanted to camp at Hurricane, having heard that it's an exceptionally pretty place. We quickly learned that the tales concerning the beauty of the location were spot on.

Before we left, I had researched the area extensively. Two things kept cropping up whenever I'd read about Hurricane. One was that there was an exceptionally pretty waterfall called Comers Creek Falls less than a two-mile hike from the campground. The other thing that there was an exceptionally pretty waterfalls called Rowlands Creek Falls less than a two-mile hike from a trailhead a short distance from the campground.

So I decided to hike them both. The first one was Comers Creek Falls, since the trailhead was actually at the campground and it intersected with the Appalachian Trail and I wanted to see what the AT was like in this area. The hike was nice enough, but when I reached the waterfall, I found a small cascade about eight feet in height. Worse, I soon realized that a few yards from the top of the "falls" was a parking lot where the locals could drive almost right to the waterfall! Talk about hype! Ah, well. Live and learn.

For this I did a three-mile hike?

The next day I drove a short distance to the trailhead for the trek to Rowlands Creek Falls. True enough, it was about 1.5 miles down a very steep trail to the waterfall. Unlike Comers Creek, this one was spectacular. Not sure of the total drop, but almost 100 feet, I'd say. The setting was in a healthy cove hardwood forest and the waterfall was down in a steep mini-gorge. I spent about an hour and a half taking photos there and did some scrambling on a cliff face across the creek from the trail. Only when the sun began to fade and I thought I might get caught in the dark getting back to my vehicle did I pry myself away and had back up the trail.

Rowlands Creek Falls

Don't believe everything you read. The descriptions I'd encountered of both of these waterfalls led me to conclude they were equally worthy of the hikes to them. In fact, I found that only one of them was actually a waterfall, while the second was rather pathetic and not really deserving of being tagged as a true waterfall.


Anonymous said...

I like your little camper!!

HemlockMan said...

It'a Casita. Freedom Deluxe model. They're great. Self-contained and easy to take into out of the way campgrounds.