Slippery Rock Falls

In our summertime quest for NC waterfalls, we experienced the very large and powerful – Linville Falls springs to mind – an immense volume of water with tremendous force cutting through great stone canyons.   We experienced the refreshing and exhilarating  – Looking Glass Falls  – which we loved for its waterfall atmosphere, easy access and, a key factor for GraceNotes, the swimming hole experience.  Other falls are quieter, more secluded.   That was our experience with Slippery Rock Falls. 

For one thing, the approach is by car, up a very small, twisty, switch-back road, barely wide enough for one car,  with deep ravines just off the shoulder that required a “don’t look down!” to The Daughter in the back seat.   “Safely” parked at a slight widening in the road near the trail head, we got out, pausing a moment to refresh ourselves on Black Bear Encounter  and “Flash Flood” instructions.  Hmmm.   Following the sound of water, we climbed a very short path to a rocky area where a chunk of meta-sedimentary rock emerges from the surrounding mountain and a smaller quantity of water, slips over, plunges to a small pool which overflows into a brook which gurgles and disappears into the shrubs and rocks and understory trees.   Surrounded by forest, and completely alone, this waterfall experience was by far the quietest, and most subdued.  We spent a while climbing on rocks, and studying the layers of stone and speculating on the ultimate destination of the brook.  I finally screwed up my courage to take the road back down…

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Later Mr. Garner, The Daughter and I came upon this poem during Read-Aloud, and it seems to fit!

The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.


          Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is one of a series of posts about our wonderful summer vacation in the Blue Ridge!  Thank you so much for reading!  If you are interested in the other posts you’ll find them here:

We Set Out Accompanied by Wildflowers
Dipping Our Feet in the Ancient New River
Stumbling Over the Tanawha Trail
Wonder and Awe at Linville Falls
Relaxing on a Rock at Looking Glass Falls

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