Yesterday our little band of travelers bit off a big chunk of hiking. We climbed up a mountain to Looking Glass Rock. In the picture below, Looking Glass Rock is in the center. It’s rock sides plunge almost straight down to the ground, and the name describes its mirror-like appearance when the rock is wet or icy. We sat on the very edge for a good hour having lunch. We were alone on the mountain, and, apparently that’s a rare thing as it’s a very popular trail. But, Rick, Ashok’s petsitter advised us to go early to beat the crowds. We did. And we were very grateful to have our solitude up there in that beautiful spot.
Looking Glass Rock from the Blue Ridge Parkway
On the way up…
No matter how happy we were about being up there, our Louisiana flatlander legs were talking back to us this morning about climbing a mountain for more than 5 hours. Our phones tell us we hiked 19,230 steps, 7.3 miles and climbed 76 floors. We decided to take some easier hikes today for recovery. I asked Rick where we should go, and he immediately said Skinny Dip Falls. The trail guide told us that the hike back to these falls is unmarked, but it gave us directions. At mile marker 17 we took the Mountain to Sea Trail for about a half mile downhill.
Looking Glass Rock Slideshow
We could hear the falls long before we saw them, but the first thing I saw was a long staircase leading down to a bridge crossing the water. I looked up and saw at least two spectacular cascading waterfalls amidst a boulder field. Deep green sparkling pools at the bottom of each fall invited swimmers into their watery depths. I descended the staircase and saw yet another waterfall below the bridge falling into yet another beautiful pool. The place was magical.
The trail guide warned us that the falls really weren’t clothing optional, but we were alone in the area. I kept running around on the boulders wondering if I dared strip down and plunge into the icy waters just for a bit. A couple with their dog passed through, and then I spotted the perfect spot. Two large boulders created a little changing space that would be somewhat private. I could dive into the pool, and – even if someone came by – they’d never see a thing under the water. This was exactly what I was looking for!
I started taking off my clothes, and Carryn and Jo Ann yelled and asked me if I was going in. “Yes, I am,” I said. That was the coldest water I’ve ever dared to swim in, and I’m afraid my skinny dipping didn’t last very long. But I felt amazing when I got out. Carryn couldn’t resist, and she jumped into my spot after I was respectfully clothed again. She took her turn in the water, and we laughed at what we’d just done in the middle of the forest.
“I’m so glad I did that,” I said gleefully as we were walking away. “I’m glad you did it, too,” she said. “I never would have done it if you hadn’t.” My second husband got me skinny-dipping, and now I just can’t pass up an opportunity to do it if one comes along. I’ve skinny-dipped on a trail in Big South Fork, on a lake in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and in Sylamore Creek in Arkansas several times. Now, I’ve done skinny-dipped at Skinny Dip Falls in North Carolina. I just can’t pass up a temptation like that!
Hey… don’t tell anybody…. this is our little secret!!