High Falls- Charlie didn't like it if the waterfalls were loud from where we could see them, hence the sad face. Oh, and we had just ran out of dried peaches, his favorite snack.
Looking Glass Falls- I think this would be the one Charlie would pick as his favorite waterfall of the trip. Not too loud, and lots of room to walk around (this was not on a hike, it was right off of the forest service road, and down a bunch of stairs that led to a viewing platform).
That's right. Stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Charlie was in heaven. The section visible in the picture is about a third of them. Charlie was delighted to crawl up every last one of them by him self and we were on vacation; it didn't matter if we spent half a day making our way up some stairs!
It felt so good to be hiking again! Keith and I agree that the thing we miss most (besides family) is being so close to trails and climbs. You wouldn't believe the rhododendrons though! There were several spots on the trails like the one in the above-center picture where we went through tunnels of rhodies. They are the state flower of Washington so I thought I had seen some big ones in my time but the forests of rhodies here way out did any in Washington. Just imagine what they look like in full bloom!
Daniel Ridge Falls- We spent the bulk of our last day hiking to these falls. There were several times when I just stopped, listened to the silence, and got happy tingles up my back. Raleigh is great, but it is still a city and we treasured our time away from it. Charlie was ready to get out of the carrier by the time we got to the end of this hike. We had run out of low-pro snacks and he did not like that at all. Note to self: bring twice as many snacks for kids on hikes as they normally eat. Even if they are being carried and aren't using much energy.
We are back to the grinding stone now (especially Keith). He has started a TA job on top of his busy semester and field work is starting to pick up as well. I am glad we got out for a bit when we did! On to the summer!