This past weekend some friends of mine and I went down to Virginia to check out some waterfalls and hiking. Well we didn't really do all that much hiking but we did enjoy the waterfall and surrounding area of Falling Spring Falls. There were many pools of water below the falls to explore and some big enough to swim in. The waterfall wasn't so powerful that you couldn't go under it and if you walked down further along the edge of the fall back where it was dry there were these various caves to explore that were easy enough to climb up to. It was all around a fun place to explore and just enjoy God's amazing creation. The best though was at the top of the waterfall with a little walk further back there was this pool with rope swings to jump in and swim around. It was an absolute blast and something that I've wanted to do for so long.
There were so many things about this trip to enjoy. First off getting to spend more time with a friend that I haven't really gotten to spend extended amounts of time with (apart from her wedding day and into the late nights after bible study). It was good to hang out in a different setting than normal for us. The camping was nice because I got to sleep on the extra cushioning of a futon cover (the most comfortable waking up experience I've ever had camping!), and we also gave ourselves enough time to pitch the tent while there was still some daylight (at least one of the nights). The waterfall was awesome because there are a couple of things that I've always wanted to do at a waterfall but never felt that there was the opportune time when I'd gone before with friends and that is to jump into the water and also to walk under a waterfall.
The other amazing thing was exploring these caves. I climbed up after Dustin and I wasn't really sure what to expect but as the others were climbing up I went further back into the cave and realized how large it was inside. We sent Dustin back to the car to get the flashlights (and water and batteries and string) so that we could go back further and explore. While he was gone I used my camera to shine a little more light in the darker area of the cave so I could get an idea of what it looked like in there and realized it wasn't quite as big as I thought it might be at first but still worth exploring none the less. There was dew everywhere inside and when a little light was shone on it it glittered and shimmered everywhere. We even found a critter who had made the cave his home (the random bones and many seed shells were a bit of a give away). There were probably many but we only encountered one. We saw all kinds of stalactites and rock formations that were absolutely beautiful to behold. One place even looked like an upside down palace.
I've only ever explored caves one other time without a lighted tour along a concrete path was when I was at Messiah College. I went with a group there and we played hide and seek in the cave in the dark (if you've ever wanted to feel what it's like to be blind and not know where you are in a dark and cold place then I definitely recommend it). It was an experience I'll never forget. Anyways it was neat to explore a cave on my own without anyone who knew the place already and could tell me what everything was but I had to kind of figure it out on my own, or only with the observations of those with me. It forces me to look at everything more closely than what I would've done had I had someone there to tell me everything they already knew about the place.Go and have some fun outside!