No close calls at these waterfalls

When it comes to waterfalls, I am of the thinking that bigger isn’t always better — especially since our scary experience at Niagara Falls in October.

We were following John Steinbeck’s route — that he took with his poodle Charley — and stopped there for the day, on the Canada side. As I took pictures of Ace with the falls in the background, a little girl started squealing upon seeing him.

Not a fan of loud noises — be they squeals or breaking sticks — Ace jumped over the protective railing, onto a small patch of grass that led to a sheer drop off.

Luckily, I was able to grab his leash and quickly convince him to jump back to the safe side.

Looking Glass Falls in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest — that’s it to the left — was more our speed, and size.

We, along with the former college roommates I was camping with, lingered there for awhile last week before moving on to check out Sliding Rock, pictured at the top of this post.

Sliding Rock is a natural 60-foot rock formation with a seven-foot deep pool at the bottom, and a popular summertime spot — all the fun of a waterslide and none of the tackiness.

It’s now an official U.S. Forest Service recreation area. Though accessible year round, it wasn’t open for the season yet, but when it is, there is parking available, a lifeguard is on duty and a small fee is required to enter.

Transylvania County in western North Carolina boasts 250 waterfalls. While those include Whitewater Falls — whose 400-foot drop is the highest of any waterfall east of the Rockies — most of them are more along the lines of soothing cascades than roaring death traps.

You can learn more about the area’s waterfalls on Land of Waterfalls, a website operated by the county tourism office that even offers an interactive waterfall finder.

Looking Glass Falls, as its name might imply, was the perfect spot for quiet reflection, which my friend George seems to be doing, with an assist from Ace, in the photo to the left.

It’s right next to the highway, and just a few series of steps to get down to ground level, where one can find a comfortable rock, dip one’s toes, or paws, in the clear cold water and daydream the day away.

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