It’s not easy to step out onto the edge. There’s something about that place if transition from one state of being to the next that really gets our attention. We get butterflies in our stomachs and our knees begin to tremble. We can feel our hearts pounding as adrenaline surges through our veins. That’s the feeling I would have during a repelling exercise or leaping from the tall cliffs into the water. In my young mind I knew that this is what it felt like to fly. Fear, excitement and recklessness all come together to form the experience. When I was a kid I had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with some of the Blue Angels flight team and I like the way one of the pilots described this feeling. He said that “There’s no difference between the thrill of flying and the fear of falling.” His point was that it’s in overcoming your desire to remain comfortable with your circumstances that we become more than we was yesterday.
It doesn’t have to be piloting the latest and hottest high performance jet at beyond the speed of sound. It doesn’t even have to be leaping into water or sliding down a cliff on a rope. (In fact especially not the cliff in the feature image. There’s no water under the rocks here and it’s not a legal place to repell from.) It could be as simple as deciding to strike up a conversation with that person who you’re interested in or starting a blog where you share your deepest thoughts with the world. Whatever it is know that when you overcome that shaky feeling that this is what it’s like to fly.
Tonight I have a summer shot of Lover’s Leap Rock. As I understand it this is the rock that the lovers lept from. Some research has shown me that a lot of places have a “Lover’s Leap” with the same legend of forbidden love so deep that the couple couldn’t live without each other. The tail is even reflected in the Longstocking Tales that gave rise to the Last Of The Mohicans. As I stand out on the edge of the adjoining cliff and look into the depth of the canyon I understand how desperate the lovers must have been. In some versions of the legend the lovers are changed into birds and fly away together. That’s the version I like best. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. 💘
At the bottom of rustic staircase that winds its way down to the rocky ledge is the Lover’s Leap Overlook. As we draw near the end of the trail beams of light break through canopy and when there’s a breeze shaking the branches the light seems to dance in the shadows. Small wildflowers dot the forest floor along with the occasional mushroom. At the landing near the canyon rim a small park bench waits for those who wish to enjoy the scene but not from the very edge. But, for those adventurous spirits who want to challenge the wind arising out of the New River Gorge the trail has not ended yet. Walking right up to the safety rail yields a view of the New River slowly working it’s way North. The canyon rim is home to large buzzards but recently the American Bald Eagle has returned to the area and it’s just a matter of time before they are seen skimming the surface of the water to catch a fish.
I wasn’t able to take the tram down into the canyon this time but it’s on my to do list 😀
Our mountains are full of little trails. Pictured here is the Lover’s Leap Trail at Hawks Nest State Park in West Virginia. The legend tells of a Native American couple who would rather leap from the high cliffs than be separated. As you descend down the winding pathway, ancient and majestic trees line the sides of the rustic staircase. The walk down is easy but if you have long legs and large feet like me, the spacing is a little off and it’s easy to fall down. It isn’t until you look back up the trail that you really notice how steep the climb back will be. You might be tempted to turn around and climb back out early but don’t. As we’ll see in tomorrow’s post the view is well worth the effort.