Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sandstone Falls

Nestled in the narrow valley near the beginning of the New River Gorge National River  and ten miles down a narrow country road is Sandstone Falls.
At the park entrance, just off the parking lot is a boardwalk trail that takes visitors out into the river channel.
The day we visited was a beautiful fall day with sunlight bouncing off leaves that glowed in shades of red, orange, yellow and green.  As we walked along the board walk we caught glimpses of the falls  framed by the trees.
A fine mist formed above the water as water spray and condensation met the cool Autumn air.

We walked through and above the Appalachian Riverside Flatrock CommunityAppalachian Riverside Flatrock Community, an area unique to the New River Gorge.  Here the riverside is intermittently visited by the river as its channel changes through the years.  Flat sandstone gradually becomes covered in soil, which eventually supports plant growth whole root systems hold more soil allowing even more growth until the river floods or the main channel  moves in reclaiming the area under a shallow depth of water.  Elsewhere, other rocks are left exposed where lichen will grow and start the process over.
We slowly moved on enjoying the serenity.  
Sandstone Falls is more than one waterfall.  It is series of drops changing with the seasons and with each flood.
Across the river, high up the mountain is an overlook that looks steeply down upon the falls but here we are part of the view.  We are those small dots that folks see from above.
The sun sets quickly in the steep valleys of the the New River.  It is a mountain river and mountains are stingy with the daylight.  Soon shadows begin to compete with light for our attention.
We turn around and start walking back to our car, taking time to quietly watch a Great blue heron fishing for its evening meal. Can you discern the heron from the rocks and leaves around it?
I marveled at its patience as the heron moved closer to the water with movements that were almost undetectable.
We left the heron to its fishing but a few moments we saw it again.
It flew overhead, landing on a river boulder,
then on up to a dead limb overlooking a pool.
One last look and we returned to our car to continue on to Bluestone Camp & Retreat Center . . .  but more about that later.
The books linked below are about the New River.  Follow the River is about Mary Ingles' escape from the Shawnee Indians and her trip up the New River to return to her home at Drapers Meadow Virginia.  For more books or maps on the New River, click on the tab at the top of my blog, My Amazing Store," go to some of my favorite books and then to "New River Gorge."


Out on the prairie said...

Fun shots, I really liked the heron shots,they catch my eye and camera often.

Esther Montgomery said...

What a beautiful and interesting and awe-inspiring and frightening looking place!

Lona said...

What a magnificent place to visit. I love your shots. Just beautiful!

Karen said...

Perfect outing, seeing the falls and the heron. Amazing how he/she blends into the scenery. The days are so short now, but this is a wonderful remembrance of your trip. I thoroughly enjoyed your post!

Anonymous said...

Your water falls are simply breath taking. I enjoyed them very much.