Sunday, April 25, 2010

Out of Town: Swallow Falls and Deep Creek Lake Parks

When I told several of my friends we were going to be visiting the Deep Creek area, everyone told me that I had to visit Swallow Falls. Because I value my friends' advice, I decided to take them up on this, especially because Swallow Falls is a pet friendly park. We set off early in the morning, driving throughout the Deep Creek area, until we stumbled upon the Swallow Falls Park. I was a little disappointed to see there was an entrance fee, but we went ahead and paid it, because I knew it was going for a good cause.

When we got out of the car, and began venturing into the woods, I immediately wished I had paid better attention to which path my friend Roseanna had told me to take, because I knew she told me a specific one. On a leap of faith, we took the one that stated it led to Swallow Falls. It was a very easy trail, even Dexter was able to handle most of it, until we got to steps, and then we had to carry him. But it was well worth it. When we reached the steps we were at the upper falls. it was breathtaking, and because it was so dry, we were about to go right out onto the falls.

This trail was a piece of cake, so rather than turn around and go back the way we came, we continued on. And man on man, the things we saw. There were trees growing on rocks, boulders perched precariously on top of stacks of rocks, and of course the lower falls. It was breathtakingly beautiful and scary all at once.

The trail was really rough, we had to carry Dex the whole time, and stopped to give him water. Finally, after a couple of rests, we made it to the Muddy Falls, at the end of the trail, which is the highest free falling waterfall in the state of Maryland. Hubby even ventured out on the falls to get a downward shot, he is braver than me!

After we left, we took Dex back to the room to relax (he had a big morning!) because he unfortunately could not come with us to the Deep Creek Lake State Park due to a no pet policy for park lands (boooo). Once again we had to pay to get into the park (double boo) even though we were only going to be there for less than an hour.

Still, it was money well spent. It was simply gorgeous, although a bit chilly. I did however persuade Hubby to doff his socks and shoes with me, and wade into the icy lake water. I then surprised us both by climbing the rock pile triumphantly. We played a little more, and relaxed in the beauty that surrounded us.

One of the books I read recently talks about the Celtic concept of "thin places", areas where the physical space between heaven and earth is literally thinner, where we feel the presence of God a bit more fully. For me, these places often occur in nature. I feel certain that on this day, I walked through several thin places.