Back to nature. Took a hike last weekend to Crabtree Falls, which is just off The Blue Ridge Parkway in the shadow of Mt Mitchell on the Yancey / McDowell County line. From Asheville northward, The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for another few weeks, so along with a friend, I took the long way up and around by way of Burnsville. Nice ride. One benefit of the tremendous rainfall this year is the fact that the falls were roaring. Its not too strenuous a hike down into the gorge, we just took our time and stopped at several spots along the way. You have two options if hiking to Crabtree Falls, a short or long route. Take the long route, it's worth it. It's like a tropical rainforest the deeper you tread into the terrain. For the most part it’s a deciduous forest, and with the constant mist from the falls moss covers everything, reclaiming the rotted waterlogged wood that grows, peaks and decays on an accelerated cycle. Some of the flora has adapted and evolved to an almost orchid like design, very much like an enchanted forest. When you climb back out of the gorge up to the "surface" you're surprised to see the sun still shines. Be sure not to miss the Mt Mitchell scenic overlook just south of Crabtree Falls on the Pkway… in my opinion one of the most awe inspiring vistas.