Friday, November 13, 2015

November 10, 2015 - Wintergreen Falls and Stone Mountain, DuPont State Forest

We finally gave up on fall color for the year and now needed something else to keep us out of trouble.  Cindy had been seeing other hikes in DuPont State Forest besides the ones going to the waterfalls and we both decided that exploring those trails this winter would make for some great hiking.  Cindy found a hike to a view - Stone Mountain - so we decided on that one, plus she had never been to Wintergreen Falls - and I wanted to go back - so that would be our other hike of the day since the parking areas are close to each other.

As we got closer to Sky Valley Rd, the skies were very overcast, so we decided on the Wintergreen Falls hike first to take advantage of the light.  I have directions to this waterfall on my web site here.  Of course as we got closer to the waterfall, the clouds thinned and we ended up with mostly sunny conditions.  This wasn't a bad thing however.  We began shooting up on the big rocks in front of the waterfall and managed to get some shots with the sun behind a cloud.  The falls was really gushing from the recent heavy rain.  When the 2 people that were already at the waterfall left, Cindy moved over to that area and was giving me a thumbs up.  When I got over there, I could see why.  There was a nice rainbow in the spray coming off the falls.  I also shot video along with the stills and you can see that below the following images.  So in this case, the sun turned out to be our friend. 

Wintergreen Falls in bright sunlight
Wintergreen Falls with the sun behind a cloud

different angle with the rainbow
close up of the rainbow

It was about noon when we got back to the car, so we ate a bite of lunch, then headed towards the parking for the Rocky Ridge Trail which is just up Sky Valley Rd.  The hike to the view on Stone Mountain (the highest mountain in DuPont at 3600') is about 1.5 miles and moderate in difficulty.  Some folks might find the last part to be a bit steep.  The first 1/2 mile of the hike is easy and brings you to the intersection with the Stone Mountain Trail.  This trail gains about 600' in elevation over the next mile and the trail is very rocky in places.  It ends on a rock bald area with 180° views looking south. There are also views through the trees in other directions when the leaves are off, so keep that in mind if you plan a trip there.

view from Stone Mountain in DuPont State Forest

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