HELP! I'm looking for a particular waterfall in Tucker County. Also, have you noticed all the cicadas?
They finally made it to my neighborhood.
Then again, I guess they were always here, lurking for years just beneath the surface, waiting among the roots of trees in their untold numbers for their day in the sun - to shrug off their carapace, grow up, and keel over dead after having a few kids who will head back down to earth to start the cycle again.
The swarm that wrapped the stoop in a steady, buzz saw wall of sound this week weren't that evident when my wife and I left for a getaway to Asheville, North Carolina. But they clearly began emerging even as my wife happily made friends with the alpacas and goats that live next door to the tiny Airbnb house we had booked for the weekend. We also did some hiking in the mountains around Asheville, had lunch with my old friend Sheryl (a longtime Ashevillian) and toured the Biltmore Estate, a retreat for the 1% if there ever was one. Too much to take care of, if you ask me.
Our visit to Asheville was our first trip away from home since joining the ranks of the vaccinated. But while we are protected, I still feel like I should probably go get a Covid-19 test, just to be sure. The Biltmore was crowded with largely maskless tourists eager to gawk at the sort of grandeur only Vanderbilt money can buy.
We ran into the same thing the previous day, when we hiked out to Catawba Falls, part of the Pisgah National Forest. A popular hike, we found out to our dismay - especially it seemed to me, among young adults with good hair, the sort of well-groomed coif that falls perfectly into place with a quick head flick.
So yeah, I should probably get tested for peace of mind. Don't want to be that guy who unknowingly spreads illness while telling everyone he meets that it's totally fine, that "I'm fully vaccinated." Even so, still pays to be careful.
Catawba Falls, by the way, reminded me of a woodcut illustration our friend Porte Crayon (David Hunter Strother) created for his breakout 1853 travelogue, "A Visit to the Virginian Canaan," an account of the hunting and fishing trip he took with a few of his cronies to the high mountain Blackwater River region of what is now West Virginia.
I keep threatening to mount my own expedition to the Blackwater. One day soon I'll actually do it. It'd be nice to track down the falls Porte sketched. The illustration makes them look like quite the landmark. They must be well known today, but I am ignorant of their whereabouts.
The obvious potential answer is Blackwater Falls State Park, but the sketch doesn't really look like the iconic falls that attracts so many tourists with cameras.
If you know, drop me a message, either in the comments here or on Facebook or Twitter. I'd appreciate it.
In the meantime, my attention at the moment remains on all the cicadas that are out and about in the neighborhood. I mean, they ARE falling all over themselves, right?.