First Virginia Summer Hike of 2021: Apple Orchard Falls and Cornelius Creek Trail Loop, Logged 9.1 miles

Along the Apple Orchard Falls Trail, view of the BlueRidge from Apple Orchard Mountain, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021
Apple Orchard Falls, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021

“The mountains- Tinker and Brushy, McAfee’s Knob and Dead Man–are a passive mystery, the oldest of all. Theirs is the one simple mystery of creation from nothing, of matter itself, anything at all, the given. Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.” – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Lunch spot at Apple Orchard Falls, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021

“‘God is subtle,’ Einstein said, ‘but not malicious.’ Again, Einstein said that ‘nature conceals her mystery by means of her essential grandeur, not by her cunning.’ It could be that God has not absconded but spread, as our own vision and understanding of the universe have spread, to a fabric of spirit and sense so grand and subtle, so powerful in a new way, that we can only feel blindly of its hem.” Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Green leaves and moss are everywhere in May (no filter), Apple Orchard Falls Trail, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021
Rhododendron, Apple Orchard Mountain, 2021, E. H. Uminn
Overlook in clearing, Apple Orchard/Cornelius Creek Trail Loop, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021

“After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossae down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn’t flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames.”- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

AT trail markers on Cornelius Creek section, photo by a friend of me in the middle and B leading in front, 2021
Green fern undergrowth, Apple Orchard Mountain, AT Cornelius Creek Trail, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021
Giant rock face in the forest, Apple Orchard Mountain, photo by E. H. Uminn, 2021

Made it! Apple Orchard Falls, 2021

Record of hike:

-Apple Orchard Falls is a descending sub trail off of the AT on the Blue Ridge Parkway; we were one of two cars at the trailhead at 9 a.m. It was very busy around mid day (I prefer to hike in more remote locations). When we got back to the car there were easily 40 in the lot. Luckily, we were done by 2 p.m. The weather was sunny and around 60 degrees when we started in the morning, rising to around 70 degrees in the afternoon.

-Took the loop, starting from the Sunset parking lot and at the first fork turning left toward the Cornelius Creek shelter on the AT, but continued on AT a bit too far and had to turn around to walk back a couple of miles to get the correct loop. Ah well, more miles logged (and less busy on the AT)!

-Met the “Wandering Dames” (they have a Youtube channel!) who were almost at the midway point of their thru-hike of the AT (most thru hikers who are traveling the entire AT are in Virginia during June if they start in Georgia). They honestly looked great for being on the trail for over two months already.

-As usual, and what I’ve been waiting to see again…everything was so green its almost unbelievable. The Virginia AT stretches can be damp, humid, cool, rainy, (you name it), but so very neon and vibrant. The majority of hikes are through dense forest, everywhere there are majestic and rising ancient trees and rock formations, keeping the sun and heat away in the summer. Then there are always lookout points that come up after miles of forest trail traveling that give breathtaking views. I equally love both the panoramic mountain views as well as the forests.

-This was a decent hike to get my “sea legs” back, but I’m looking forward to more challenging trails this summer that check off mileage. I enjoy waterfall hikes that are nestled into the side/base of the mountains, but I realized I much prefer hiking up to a summit. Next week we are watching the weather for the Shenandoah.

We still need trail names and a proper group name! 3 of our summer hiking group, Apple Orchard Mountain in the Blue Ridge, 2021

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