Adventures in History and Romance

Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Part 2)

Waterfalls! North Carolina has 'em in abundance--over 1,000. They come in every possible size and shape and range from easy-to-spot-from-the-road to get-out-your-hiking-boots-and-compass. My hubby and I opted for a mix of these. Over 4 days we managed to visit 11 different waterfalls.

Here is a photo of High Falls:

And this is Triple Falls:

And this is Stair Step Falls:

And this is Turtleback Falls:

And this is Rainbow Falls:

For our first day of hiking we picked the Horsepasture River because we'd read in hiking books that there are 5 fabulous waterfalls in fairly close succession. Imagine our surprise, therefore, when we arrived at the trail head at the state park to find the big trailmap board listed only one: Rainbow Falls. Where had the others gone? Could we still reach them?

For too many reasons to list here, the powers that be have decided visitors should only be told about Rainbow Falls--a big, touristy one that can be admired from a safe distance. The other 4 falls had been erased from the map, like the unfortunate "unpersons" in the book 1984.

But the waterfalls are still there, and you can get to them if you know where to look. Hence the photos of Turtleback Falls (which you can see by the number of people playing in it that it's the worst-kept secret in the world) and Stair Step Falls. Stair Step required some strenuous hiking to get to, and we had to follow directions from our hiking book like a treasure map to find it. But we were rewarded with some lovely scenery and our own private waterfall.

Our trip spurred us to watch The Last of the Mohicans (1992 version), since parts of it were filmed in North Carolina and featured 3 NC waterfalls, including Triple Falls and High Falls. While it was fun to spot the waterfall cameos, the movie itself was really too violent to be enjoyable.

I'd read the book years ago and knew things didn't turn out well for the protagonists. Nothing against James Fenimore Cooper--after all, his aim wasn't to write a "kissing book" (to steal a phrase from The Princess Bride). Hollywood, however, found a way to grant a happy ending to two of the characters, and I'm glad for this. (Since the film is nearly 20 yrs old I doubt I'm giving away spoilers.) Characters who work that hard and whom we fall in love with and are rooting for deserve a happy ending. That's my belief and I'm sticking to it. So the revised ending made the film a tad more enjoyable for me. That plus the lush scenery and the incredibly stirring musical score. And Daniel Day-Lewis, of course.