Many frequented trails in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Upstate South Carolina transport a hiker to picturesque waterfalls. Most trails are resplendent with a population of spring ephemeral wildflowers: trilliums, bloodroot, asters, mayapples, and many other varieties tease the senses with vivid colors and fragrances. The trails’ elevations rise and fall as they meander over the ridges, through the valleys, and over small streams of cool, rushing water.
A magnificent visual reward awaits the hiker at the end of these trails: 100+-foot-high waterfalls. A pause at a waterfall base allows a weary hiker to rest and behold the biome tranquility. Fluffy white clouds float softly through the Carolina blue sky above the waterfalls and the tall hardwoods and conifers. The only sound to arouse the senses is the roaring sound of water cascading down the side of the mountain and swiftly flowing between the ancient boulders in a creek of undetermined age.
According to research by various psychologists, people who take time to contemplate nature experience higher levels of happiness, lower levels of anxiety, and a greater desire to care for the earth.
However, walking through a small part of nature is not enough. One must watch the clouds, smell the flowers, and listen to the sounds. The vital agent is not being in nature but letting nature touch the mind, the heart, and the inner spirit.
Laurel Fork Falls