Yesterday's hike began by traveling across High Knob through the Osborne's Ridge section and into what most people consider the "back way" to the falls. This way is much easier because the walk to the falls is only .15 miles! Unfortunately at the turn to the falls, Dad and I were greeted with a gated forest road! I had even called the forest service and was told it was open, I was aggravated to say the least, but I didn't give up. I told dad we could go to Hanging Rock entrance but the falls were further up the trail. He was a good sport and agreed to go and said he would hike as far as he was comfortable with. I had only been to Hanging Rock once and it was by accident and at night. I was highly impressed with the huge rock formations and the nice cascades running through the canyon there. The picnic area was gated off so we had to walk up to the trail head just past the picnic area.
Almost immediately the trail comes to a maze of boulders as big as small houses, Dad really liked this area and played around the large rocks like he was a kid again, here's a few shots of Hanging Rock early on in the hike.
|one of the many cliffs along the trail|
|large rapids coming down Stoney Creek|
|Dad heading up the trail, me behind one of the huge boulders|
|pure sandstone boulders|
|Southwest Virginia gold, aka Coal|
|Dad really hoping there isn't a freak earthquake on Stoney Creek|
The trail leaves the boulder area and stays with the creek, a short time later you arrive at the first of four bridges suspended high over the creek. The trail narrows and each side of the canyon is shaded by high bluffs. Cascades abound and between them the water is plenty deep enough for a summer swim. As beautiful as this area is, budget cuts have it scheduled for closing! I have started contacting some people and plan to start a petition to save Hanging Rock. Speaking of Hanging Rock it's name sake lies about two miles up the trail towering over the canyon. The growth of trees have the view obstructed but on a future hike I will climb to the summit and sit on the rock, that indeed hangs out over the heavens. Just below the goat path that leads up to the rock is a long wooden bridge across a wide gorge, this is one of my favorite places on the entire trail. In the distance you can hear the faint familiar sound of water crashing over a cliffs edge and soon you can start seeing the middle stoney falls appearing in the distance. Here's some more photo's of this area.
|photo taken from one of the bridges|
|dual cascades taken from a large bolder in the creek|
|small falls the trail crosses directly in front of|
|large rock formation along the rock staircase|
|another large cascade with deep pool below|
|one of the many beautiful cascades|
|long bridge over the gorge|
|Middle Stoney Falls|
|Middle Stoney Falls|
|Horton Falls..yeah I named them!|
|Dad found a good spot to wait for me.|