Looking for a place to visit among the mountains of the Shenandoah, I randomly picked a hiking trail that led to a waterfall. The guide I used labeled the effort as easy compared to many of the others that were listed as challenging or difficult or outright I dare you. I chose White Oak Canyon Trail, though, I didn’t realize it started at the top of the mountain and went down. Meaning, when we were nice and tired, we still had to climb back up the mountain to get back to the car.

Oh well, it was fun anyway.

The hike down was not quite easy. It rained that night so it got slippery and muddy in several places. The trail starts off parallel to a small trickle of water that grew into a brook or creek then expanded into more or a river until it reaches the waterfall. As peaceful as the walk was, it definitely required some physical exertion. The issue is when you felt you were too tired to continue or wanted to save some energy to make it back up, you felt like you were right around the corner from the waterfall so you didn’t want all that effort to go to waste. So, we pushed it forward.

Eventually we reached the end and there’s simply no way a photograph can capture the feeling of standing at the edge of this cliff with the waterfall in the background. Najwa didn’t bother going to the end considering there’s nothing preventing you from slipping down into the canyon which probably meant either critical injury or death.

I also have my issues with heights with no guardrail but the hell if I was going to crawl down there and not overlook the cliff.

The climb back up was, well, definitely not easy. Nduku took off, wanting to get it over with and not lose momentum. Najwa and I took a much slower pace, stopping a few times for her to catch her breath. And I was quite impressed as I listened to her labored breathing ascending the mountain. To keep distracted, she spent most of it explaining it to me a game called Friday Nights At Fridays or FNAF (fin-aff). Actually, I marveled at how she just pushed forward when even I was feeling pressure and pain in my knees.

But we made it out and agreed to make sure the next trail isn’t as challenging (for a 10 year old anyway) and that the way back to the car wasn’t the hardest part of the hike.

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