I’ve been enjoying just running for fun a lot. With no set mileage to do on set days it has opened up more opportunities to go where we feel like with my husband and just enjoy the trails. That day it was hot down in Asheville so we headed up the Parkway. Our first thought was to park at Graveyard Fields, run and then drive back to Skinny Dip Falls for a swim. Ultimately we decided to make things more fun by leaving the car at the Looking Glass Overlook, at Mile Market 417. We took the connector to the Mountain to Sea Trail but then took a left on the first trail. It’s an unnamed trail going through tall grasses. It crossed the parkway and followed it all the way to the Graveyard Fields parking lot. We hiked that section as a way to warm up.
Once at Graveyard Fields itself, we waited until we crossed the creek to start running and headed towards the Upper Fall. We didn’t always follow the official trail because there are unfortunately a lot of unofficial ones that take you around to crossing the creek and more. But it was fun. Once we reached the main trail again we started going the wrong way but thankfully realized it quickly enough to turn around. All around us Catawba Rhododendrons were in full bloom, it was beautiful.
We started walking as we got close to the Upper Fall. The trail was becoming technical and wet and this was no time to twist an ankle. A big group of teenage girls greeted us at the bottom of the Falls but thankfully they were on their way out. We took some time to enjoy the beauty of the place and then took the (unofficial) trail to the top of the fall.
The view from the top was simply amazing. We chilled there for a while, soaking in the views. I was hot enough from our run that I had ditched my shirt and gone for the minimal running look. We hiked back down and started running again.
Remember that group of teenagers? Well they didn’t seem to know trail etiquette much. I always announce myself when I’m coming up on people. The first 4 girls were great and let us pass. The rest of the group? Not so much, I ended up yelling three times before they realized we were upon them. Even the group leader apologized. Thankfully it went well and I guess it was a good learning opportunity for them.
Once again we took a wrong turn. Going South on the MST instead of North. Thankfully I hiked that section last fall and realized our mistake pretty quickly so we didn’t go too far. The MST from Graveyard Fields to Skinny Dip Fall is mostly downhill. Half of it is in the thick rhododendrons bushes, the other half in the trees. So there is good shade the entire way. The trail is pretty smooth and non technical.
We finally reached Skinny Dip Falls after what we estimated to be about 6 miles. The water there is always cold and it was only in the mid-60’s outside. However, after our run we could not resist it and jumped in with our running clothes. Was it cold? Yes. Did we stay long in the water? Absolutely not. But it did feel amazing and by the time we walked the last 1/4 mile or so to the car we had already warmed back up anyway.
This was definitely a fun hike/run day and a great way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with my husband.
Do you ever go for a random run on the trails or do you prefer to stick to familiar grounds?