The Cascades

February 3, 2014

Saturday was beautiful. The weather was cheery, the temperature was in the fifties, and the sun was shining bright. With an aching to be outside after the snowfall and freezing weeks of January, it made all the sense in the world to go hiking. So we opted for the Cascades, which is a two mile hike to a pretty spectacular waterfall. Neither of us have been to the Cascades in the dead of winter when the water has frozen and appears to stand still. A shocker since I'm from the area and we both spent four years at Virginia Tech (hiking the Cascades is kind of a college favorite for students). But, we grabbed at our opportunity and prayed for a still-frozen waterfall.

And it was frozen all right, the whole trail that is, from top to bottom, with some slush and mud mingled in . Had we picked the first trail to the top (we got to chose which of two paths we ventured), we might have had an easier going. But, we took the second trail along the water. What adventurists we are (sense the sarcasm?). See, the trail along the water doesn't see much sun and is rather hidden by trees and massive rhododendrons. Frozen snow and ice, minus the sunlight to melt it, equals one very slippery ascent up the mountain. Had the trail not been so narrow and next to freezing water, maybe I would have been a bit calmer about slipping and sliding all over the place. Maybe I would have enjoyed it a little more. But, that wasn't quite the case. Good thing I have a strong and dashing husband who caught me as I stumbled (he loved the riskiness of it all, mind you). Even in the anxiety of plummeting into ice-cold waters, it was a stunning sight the entirety of the hike and you can see what I'm talking about in the photos below. Then the Cascades themselves, wow. Seriously, it was breathtaking. And we even walked on water...yes it was frozen and covered in feet of snow on top, but still. 
I'm glad we took time to hike and get outdoors. It was refreshing and we needed it.  And, yes, we definitely took the first trail back down. I quite enjoyed it that particular way, even all the mud and melting snow it threw all over me. A little nature never hurt anybody.