Since we were planning on staying the night around the Staunton area, we wanted something fun and different to do on the way home on Friday. Knowing that we would be traveling in the Blue Ridge Mountain area, we thought some hiking would be fun.
We had already booked a hotel in Staunton when we found out about Crabtree Falls and decided that would be our destination.
Crabtree Falls features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet. It's the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi.
We thought that sounded pretty awesome.
So then I found some cabins for rent just down the road from the trailhead.....and we were able to book one and cancel our hotel. I mean, who wouldn't rather stay in a place like this?
I can't even describe how excited the kids were about this cabin. They wanted to stay for a week. And quite frankly, if we had the time, Grant and I would have loved that as well.
This is the kind of camping I'll do at this stage of life.
Yes, I'm fully aware this is not camping.
And I'm perfectly fine with that.
Cute girl. See the big mess on her right leg? That's where she knelt down to look at the broilers at Polyface Farm when I wasn't looking and when she got up, I saw she had been kneeling in a pile of cow manure. Nice.
The furniture on the deck was so comfortable - and the swing was very popular with the girls.
The loft had no doors.....one double bed at that end.....
And a double futon at this end. Along with a free standing toilet and sink. I didn't discover the nice little screens they had for some privacy (hidden under the bed) until we were doing our last sweep of the cabin to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything.
The ladder/staircase was pretty steep.....the kids thought it was great fun.
(Do you see the spots on Marissa's pants? Cow manure also. Just thought you'd like to know.)
We had a nice little kitchen, living room, and dining area - and the door at the back leads to the bedroom and bathroom.
We spend most of our time outside, though. The weather was perfect camping weather and we had this awesome fire pit....so we ate outside, built the fire, and had some read-aloud time (The Last Battle, Chronicles of Narnia) before it got too dark and then we ate s'mores.
My studly man......sharpening some sticks to use for roasting marshmallows.
The flash he used to take this photo was so stinkin' bright!
Friday morning - we're on our way to hike!
This humongous tree was outside our cabin.
The girls thought the waterfall was a little loud. So silly.
Corban was a great hiker - I don't think he even got tired.
There were several spots to stop on the hike to see the different parts of the Falls.
At one look-out deck we spotted this little guy.....non-venomous, but we kept our distance anyways.
Another area.....this is looking down.
We made it to the top - 1.7 miles of strenuous climbing. Grant carried Ellia nearly the entire way (much to her chagrin).
At one point, after Grant had explained carefully to Ellia (age 2) why she wasn't allowed to walk on the trail because it was so slippery, steep, and difficult and she could never keep up.....and that in a year or two, when she's older, she'll be allowed to walk more on such hikes - she turned to him and seriously remarked,
"Daddy, I three now. I had my birthday last night."
I think she really thought she would convince him to let her walk after such a statement.
You couldn't see much of the Falls from the top, but you could see this......
(it was hard to believe how high we had climbed!)
How 'bout a close up of that pretty flower?
Another stop-off point to look at more of the Falls.
On our way down....which was harder in a way because we were all tired, hungry, and more susceptible to slipping on muddy spots and the rocky terrain. We made much faster time, though.
This was a little cave area that you could walk though.....the kids really thought it was cool.
The bridge over the river next to the parking lot.
Another shot of the bridge.
And on the side of the parking lot, there stood this lone telephone booth.
We thought it was so funny. You don't see many pay phones anymore. We figured we'd better take a picture next to it so the kids could remember that they've seen one.
Actually, it is probably used out there, as there is no cell phone service due to the mountains.
But we still thought it was funny.
Maybe we were just tired.