Roadtrippers
Roadtrippers

Looking for the perfect Valentine's Day outing? Take a flying leap

Illustration for article titled Looking for the perfect Valentines Day outing? Take a flying leap

Are you and your significant other searching for the perfect Valentine's Day activity? If roses and chocolates don't light your fire, and romantic weekend getaways are failing to throw sparks, why not make the ultimate demonstration of true love and throw yourselves off a cliff*?

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Lover's Leaps are a staple of any small town lore, and while the legend might vary from town to town, there's always one common thread - two star-crossed lovers who can't bear to go on without one another. How sickeningly romantic.

Chances are there's a Lover's Leap in your own backyard, which means that you pretty much have no excuse not to plunge to your deaths this Valentine's Day.

Follow this guide to some of America's most infamous Lover's Leaps, and remember, Instagram selfies of candlelit dinners are no match for the publicity you'll get when the crime scene photos are published.

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Rock City Gardens, Chattanooga, TN

Illustration for article titled Looking for the perfect Valentines Day outing? Take a flying leap
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The earliest recorded legend surrounding this cliff dates back to a tale penned in 1906. The story tells of Lone Wolf, a Cherokee chief who insisted that his daughter, Mist-On-The-Mountain, marry one of the tribe's bravest warriors, Tall Pine. As these stories tend to go, Mist-On-The-Mountain only had eyes for a handsome visitor by the name of Magwa, and when Lone Wolf denied their appeal for marriage, they concocted a plan to run away together.

Of course, Magwa would never find his way to the cliff face where he was to meet Mist-On-The-Mountain, having been slain by a jealous Tall Pine. When she realized what had happened, Mist-On-The-Mountain fled, only to be trapped on the ledge by Tall Pine, who was seething with anger. Rather than face a life with a husband she didn't love, Mist-On-The-Mountain threw herself over the ledge. Take that, dad!

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Today, the leap is part of a popular hiking path along the Appalachian Trail, with views that make for a stunning backdrop to your picnic lunch, a perfect last meal before your tragic deaths. Hikers will probably even erect a plaque in honor of your everlasting love.

Lover's Leap, Natural Tunnel State Park, VA

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This incredible tunnel, formed over millions of years, eventually made a perfect train tunnel, but long before it was ever a piece of the railroad, this geological marvel was home to a tragic tale from many years ago.

Legend has it that a young maiden was being attacked by a bear when a warrior from the local tribe intervened, saving the woman's life. The two fell in love, but when her father refused to let them marry, the young couple met at the cliff's edge, and leapt hand-in-hand at sunrise.

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Think people will be envious of your foursquare checkin at that fancy restaurant? It won't compare to how jealous they'll be when your final leap appears on the evening news.

Big Chief, Tahoe, CA

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The story behind one of California's most incredible Lover's Leaps sticks to the same basic outline of the local chief's daughter falling in love with a handsome outsider, but in this legend, dad totally gets his.

Chief-No-Name (no really, that was his name) was widely regarded as the greatest Chief in the land, so good that words couldn't accurately describe his leadership skills. His only weakness (aside from being way too humble)? His daughter. When she fell in love with a man from outside of the tribe, Chief-No-Name ordered his death, and the couple fled into the nearby forest.

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As the legend goes, the Great Spirit took pity on the lovers and caused a massive storm to slow down their pursuers. Wet, cold, and fearing that they would be torn apart, the lovers made their way to the ledge, held each other tight, and jumped off.

When Chief-No-Name discovered what had happened, he fell to the ground in anguish, beating the rock face until he hands were a bloody pulp. The Great-Spirit, angry about the death of the lovers, turned the Chief into stone as punishment for his mistake. Today, one can still look up at Big Chief Rock and see No-Name's profile staring back.

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Dad totally deserved it. You told him he'd be sorry, now look what happened. I bet he feels like such an asshole for not letting you date that guy in the leather jacket now.

Albion Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

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For a legend a bit closer to our time period, the Lover's Leap of Albion Falls tells of a 19th century woman, Jane Riley, whose affections Joseph Rousseau wouldn't return. Naturally, Jane thought it best to end it all in a final display of her love by flinging herself to the bottom of the falls. Her suicide made such an impact that a poem was written about it:

Alas, poor Jane Riley,
for Joseph she did die
By jumping off that dizzy brink
full sixty cubits high.

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Screw naming a star after your Valentine. One flying leap and you can have a poem that will still be recited hundreds of years later. God, what a cute couple you are.

The Rest

From here, just about all of the stories are a variation of the above, involving runaway daughters, scorned lovers, and handsome strangers. Sure, you've got your occasional leaps spawned by car accidents and murders, but you can never go wrong with a good legend.

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If you want to do something really special for Valentine's Day, use this handy interactive map to find a Lover's Leap near you and prove how much you care/teach dad a lesson/have the ultimate last laugh. It's way more effective than annoying everyone on social media with posts about your personal horse shit.

*Don't actually throw yourself off a cliff, idiot.

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