Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sparkling Spirited Water and Vividly Vibrant Oils

Saturday was yet another cold day. I'd looked out the window at the brilliant sunshine, hoping a bike ride would be possible, but once I'd stepped outside and felt the brisk breeze, I knew better. So I grabbed the camera and headed for the Skyline Drive in search of a waterfall.
I walked down a fire trail towards Lands Run Falls and spotted a rock outcrop with a wall of ice running down it. I managed to climb up but slipped on my way back down on the leaves. It was impossible to tell where the footholds were so I gave up and sat down, sliding the rest of the way down the hill on my rear, feeling thankful at the end that I hadn't slid over any sharp rocks!
I carried on down the trail acutely aware of the stillness. Back in England I was used to hearing the constant twitter of birds, and even after nearly 20 years in the States I'm still instantly aware of the silence whenever I start a hike. I find it difficult to believe that these great tracts of wilderness have so few birds. I was the only one on the trail, and standing completely still, the only sound I could hear was the odd vehicle passing above me on the road. But a little further down the trail I started to hear the sound of water, and as a small creek came into view the sound became louder.
I could see the creek disappearing off the edge of a rock ledge and moved forward carefully as there was a lot of ice on the ground. but I had to see where all that water was plummeting down to.
The sight below was wondrous. A glorious crescendo of crashing cascades tipped over the edge and fell down the rocks below. I hadn't expected to see anything quite as impressive as this and simply stood for a few moments soaking in this fabulous scene. But of course I had to get closer and so very carefully I climbed down, using tree roots and rocks as handholds, as there was still plenty of ice on the ground. Icicles were hanging in clusters by the water's edge and all the rocks were covered in a sheen of ice.
I couldn't believe how fortunate I was to have this wonder of nature all to myself. The water was torrential due to the heavy rains and snow melt that we'd recently had and I wondered whether this would merely be a trickle in the summertime. But after searching on the internet I found plenty of images showing a powerful waterfall throughout the seasons.
I climbed back up to the top and then walked up the creek a little. The water was impressive here too, and even with the speed of the water jumping and pouring over the rocks, there were still delicate icicles hanging from the underside of branches that were leaning across the raging torrents.

I climbed down the other side of the falls and sat on a large rock to take more photos and a video. I posted the video but for some reason Google always manages to reduce the quality to crap...
It was quite hypnotic, just sitting on the rock, feeling the warm sun on my face and listening to the thunder roaring by, gently misting me as it passed.
But the rock was bloody cold, causing me to reluctantly stand and so after standing for a few more minutes I made my way up to the path again. Trudging back uphill to the car I listened as the water sounds slowly got fainter, leaving the sound of silence to accompany me once more as I trekked upwards.
Once off the mountains I drove back through Front Royal, and passing a bar, a person wielding a paintbrush by a wall caught my attention, so I looped back and got out to investigate.
A taproom and grill called PaveMint, which opened in 2014 after renovating a 1960's gas station, was getting a new paint job. The artist is Lisa Kosloski, who works in the restaurant, and is revamping the exterior with some impressive murals. As the oil paints are daubed onto the surface some vibrant divas holding drinks are emerging from the drab plaster, and there's even beers gushing from taps on the front wall. The transformation has taken a couple of months so far due to the inclement weather but Lisa hopes to be finished in a couple of weeks. I'll go back to investigate, this is certainly going to be an eye catching piece!

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