Ok, so everyone who lives anywhere in the world where autumn is unfolding, is taking pictures of the infinity of colorful leaves and painted landscapes. And now, I get to add mine.
On a dreary, rainy day, autumn is a sorrowful reminder that winter is just around the corner. But when the sun shines on autumn leaves and infuses them with an inner glow, autumn becomes my favorite season of the year (in six months, Spring will be my best friend again).
After one such dreary weekend, Monday looked dry and promising. My husband and I dropped all other plans and headed out for a roadtrip to Hills Creek Falls in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Fortunately, he doesn’t mind stopping the car and waiting patiently for me to take my photographs.
Here are some pictures taken along the way:
We had to stop for this beautiful rock formation. A sign explaining the site left me with more questions than answers, though. I wondered how old this sign was because, lately, fracking for natural gas has become the newest trend defiling landscapes and groundwater.
But since this post is about autumn splendor, I won’t linger on the geo-political issues of the times.
An inviting grassy path near the rock formation led deeper into the woods:
Passing by luscious sumac trees in the midst of their autumn transformation:
and tall stands of pokeweed with their purple berries and a few blood red spots seeping into their leaves:
We stopped by the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center which was closed because of the US government shutdown. However, the nearby trails through the woods were open to explore.
Please click on any image for a larger view.
Finally, we found Hills Creek Falls. There are actually three separate falls: the upper falls (25 feet), the middle falls (45 feet) and the lower falls (63 feet). The upper falls were easily accessible but then the gorge through which Hills Creek runs becomes so steep that the Forest Service built wooden stairways and boardwalks to enable people to descend safely (more or less) to the bottom.
The trail to the upper falls led along this lovely stream and through thick forest with a wild rhododentron understory
And here are the actual falls and the walkways taking you there (altogether, 382 steps)
On a black iron staircase leading down to the lower falls, it started drizzling and the walking became slippery and treacherous. And then it started pouring. Luckily, I had crammed a plastic bag into my pants pocket so I could wrap my camera and carry it inside my sweater, cradling it like a baby. We decided to turn around and ascend all of those stairs and walkways passing a few intrepid visitors who didn’t seem to mind their soaking-wet adventure. I was happy for the dry, clean towel in the back of my car and another dry sweater to change into. But our jeans stayed wet for the rest of the trip.
On the way home, we stopped at a little restaurant in the town of Marlinton, WV, delighting in a freshly prepared sandwich and art work:
And on the way home, more art, man-made:
and made by Mother Nature herself: