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Clip July 15 Rappahannock


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Clip July 15 Rappahannock

  1. 1. Rappahannock Magazine JULY 2015 Vol. 1, Issue 10 FREDERICKSBURG | SPOTSYLVANIA | STAFFORD FREE
  2. 2. 14 Rappahannock Magazine JULY 2015 Vol. 1, Issue 10 I’ve often wondered if I’d love Crabtree Falls more if I could get there in a more direct way. I’ve only made the trip a few times, but I’ve never used the same route twice, and I know I’m getting close when I get the feeling of despair that goes along with being truly lost. This time, on the advice of my GPS, I found myself on a narrow mountain road, paved only in the most generous sense of the word with a thin coating of loose gravel. The prospect of oncoming traffic filled me with dread, but its absence made me wonder why my GPS had sent me here. When I felt the back end of the car slide toward a steep drop, I made a promise that I’m now a little ashamed of. “I hope whatever is at the foot of this road is interesting,” I said to myself, “because that’s what I’m going to write about. Crab- tree Falls be damned.” Fortunately, the potentially deadly road took me to Route 56, only a few miles from the Falls, and I was able to make another promise. I promise that at the end of this story I will provide better directions than my GPS gave me. Located in the George Washington Na- tional Forest, Crabtree Falls is a series of waterfalls, where Crabtree Creek rushes over more than 1,000 feet of rocks toward the Tye River in Nelson County. Amateur hikers looking for weekend fun, couples seeking a beautiful retreat, and travelers in search of a rest stop all enjoy the 1.7 mile trail to the top of the falls. The trip features plenty of spots to pause for a rest and take in the beautiful views. About 500 feet from the parking lot, on a paved walk, a seating area awaits those who want to enjoy the scenery without a lot of physical effort. From there, it’s possible to watch other hikers as they make their way onward and upward, and cool breezes make the area comfortable and inviting. Beyond that point, it’s a brief but steep climb up trails and steps to the next overlook, sur- rounded by pink and lavender blossoms reaching down toward the crystalline waters. After the first three quarters of a mile or so, Continued on Page 20 EscapeArtist For a Weekend Getaway, Follow the Road to Crabtree Falls Expedition and Photo by Lexi Walker The summit at Crabtree Falls in Nelson County offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains, but the 1.7-mile trail to the top also offers plenty of spots to take in the beauty of the falls and their surroundings. the climb is not so steep, but there are very few places to sit. The trail is rocky in plac- es and slick with mud in others, and while inexperienced hikers shouldn’t shy away from it altogether, some measure of caution is warranted. The trail leads hikers toward the falls and then back away into the woods, where gor- geous greenery and shade await. Whenever the trail draws near the water, it provides a vantage point where visitors can photograph white streams sliding over smooth stones or deep pools beneath fallen trees. The route passes a large cave at mile marker 0.9, about halfway up; on my trip, it smelled faintly of smoke. At mile marker 1.7, the trail opens onto the top of the falls, a bright sunny spot that’s perfect for enjoying a snack and a smashing view of the Tye River gorge. In the summer, the mountains rise up green and majestic in the distance. Standing over the falls, where the waters burble and hiss over mossy rocks, is a fitting reward for a summer hike and the long road trip. Some hikers will want more, of course, and the trip to Spy Rock, on a route that joins the Appalachian Trail, awaits more adventurous visitors. The trek to Spy Rock and back again is about 14 miles long. A word of warning about hiking the falls: Stay on the trail. The temptation of cool mountain water on a hot summer day is almost painful to endure; many have called it the Siren of Crabtree Falls. The rocks are coated in a slick, nearly invisible algae, and since 1982, dozens of hikers have lost their lives on the slippery stones off the trail. Just days after my visit, the Siren claimed an- other victim; a young hiker fell to his death after leaving the trail to approach the water. There’s another reason to stay on the trail, however. As I was dropping my parking fee in the dropbox at the trailhead, a group of young hikers stopped in front of me. One of them pointed at the ground, and I thought I heard her say she’d seen a rat.
  3. 3. 20 Rappahannock Magazine JULY 2015 Vol. 1, Issue 10 weird rules, the pushy parents, the half/whole diminished scales, and the 32nd notes, Young, who has delivered pizzas, worked as a cashier, and waited tables in order to afford his music career, suggests something they may not want to hear. Be a teacher of music, he says. “I have always come back to teaching music. It was never NOT something I wanted to do,” he says. “It’s very tough to make a living as a performer no matter how much talent and skill you have, so education is a great way to supplement your income. It also keeps your skills and knowledge sharp and keeps you honest about practicing.” He gives a nod to his private instructors, Ed Fraederich and Rick Parrell, for his successes in the music world. He also credits his high school band director, Mary Ulrey, for showing him what a confident, passionate music educator looked like. The trio of music educators had a profound impact on Young’s life. Another group influenced the smooth blues and jazz that typify Young’s saxophone playing style. He points to jazz Audio File From Page 11 “What an odd place for a rat,” I thought. Maybe she’s seeing a possum. But I was mistaken. She hadn’t been pointing at a rat. She’d been saying “rattler.” As we watched, a rattlesnake with a postprandial bulge in its middle slid across the warm stones near the information board, moving to quieter, shady places off the trail. The moral of both these sto- ries is that it’s safer on the trail. It’s also worth mentioning that saxophonist Charlie “Yardbird” Parker and Julian Edwin “Can- nonball” Adderly as well as the iconic guitar player Jimi Hendrix as his top music influences. He sees these musicians as masters of the art form. “I think if you ask any musician, they will tell you that ‘you never get there.’ It sounds a little daunting but it’s not. Just like in life, in music you are constantly setting new goals and pushing yourself in new directions. It’s a fantastic journey and I highly recommend it,” he says. “And if you know someone who is making a living as a musician, give them a big hug because they probably need it. Support local musicians, artists, and ‘creative types’ in general.” Many are working very hard for very little beyond the reward of playing. Music may be a reward in itself, but that doesn’t pay the rent. Check out Forte Music Stu- dios at www.fortemusicstudios. com and to hear Young jam, hop over to YouTube and type in his name. (Yes that’s his given name. No, he’s not French. No, he’s not Cajun. Yes, he is an obnoxious Saints fan just the same.) there is no cell phone reception whatsoever at Crabtree Falls. Save that sense of adventure for something a little less lethal. Getting to Crabtree Falls is no mean feat. I had to overcome my distaste for the Interstate to get there, but it’s possible to spend most of the trip on Route 29, which meets Route 56 near Lovingston. Watch for the large sign promising an observation site and a smaller sign that says Crabtree Falls. Parking at the falls costs $3 for the day. Con- sider using the bathroom before you arrive; the falls have two small vault toilets at the trail- head. From the falls, a right turn onto Route 56 leads to the unfortu- nately named Route 666. Follow it to 151 and take a left to find Wild Wolf Brewing Compa- ny, the Bold Rock Cidery, and the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company within a very short distance of each other. A long hike — or even a short one — deserves a cold beer. Escape Artist From Page 14 Try one of the campgrounds along Route 56 for an overnight stay. Most offer both cabin and tent camping, as well as a place to wade in waters cool and refreshing enough to make a person forget how long, hot, and confusing her trip was. When it’s time to return to the camp- fire, memories of being lost in the Virginia mountains will be far away. Firelight and rushing waters and peace will be all the more welcome for the trouble it takes to get there. before. Almonds, chicken salad, and lettuce on … bread make up the sandwich and it was one of the better tasting healthy foods that I have had. The littering of the almonds throughout the chicken salad added an enjoy- able crunch to every bite. It did not taste as good as the Monte Cristo, which isn’t saying much as the Monte Cristo was one of the best sandwiches I have had in some time. But it was more than just a flavorful sandwich; it was a healthy, flavorful sand- wich. This worked in conjunc- tion with the portion size of the sandwich; it was much bigger than the Monte Cristo, but I still managed to eat half and still had room for dessert. Everyone knows that desserts are the true main attraction of any restaurant, but this is where I was slightly disappointed. I had heard many great things about Eileen’s Strawberry Frasier Cake and was really looking forward to trying the cake. But I arrived at 2 p.m., and by then, many of the desserts had been snatched up. In order to sate my dessert craving, I decided to order a chocolate chip macaroon and a brioche roll (unheated this time). Macaroons are somewhat foreign territory for me. I cannot remember the last time I had one, so I figured that it was high time that I try something new. Luckily for me, I found it to be the perfect snack after eating those sandwiches. The coconut and chocolate flavors mixed perfectly. The cookie was soft even though it had been cooked earlier in the day, which honest- ly surprised me. The number of rock-solid cookies I have had at bakeries far outweighs the number of decent ones I’ve had, so I was fully expecting this macaroon to disappoint. One thing I will say is that I was not too fond of the texture of the cookie, but I am not sure if that was because of the mixing of the cookie or because I have always had a bit of an issue with the texture of coconut shavings. It ended up being much better than the brioche roll, which unfortu- nately was a bit stale. This did sour my opinion of their desserts somewhat, but it seems that the roll was intended to be heated, so I could not judge it too harsh- ly. All in all, though, the cookie was more than satisfactory as a farewell to my lunch there. Eileen’s Bakery and Café 1115 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 (540) 372-4030 Last Call From Page 15