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File:Hawks Nest.JPG

Lover's Leap (sometimes spelled as Lovers Leap), is a toponym given to a number of locations of varying height, usually isolated, with the risk of a fatal fall and the possibility of a deliberate jump. Legends of romantic tragedy are often associated with a Lovers' Leap.

LocationsEdit

The Lover's Leap at Hawk's Nest in Hawk's Nest State Park in the town of Ansted, West Virginia, USA, along the historic Midland Trail has a drop of 178 m (585 feet) from a high bluff overlooking the New River Gorge. The promontary was named "Lover's Leap" by settlers,[1] and has acquired an urban legend involving two young Native Americans from different tribes.[2]

Dovedale in the Peak District in the UK has a limestone promontory named lova leap reached by a set of steps built by Italian prisoners of war captured in the Second World War. The local legend is that a young woman believed her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic war, so she threw herself off the top of the promontory. Later her family found out that her boyfriend was alive and well.[3]

Blowing Rock Mountain, outside Blowing Rock, North Carolina, has a similar legend of a young lover leaping from the cliff and instead of plunging to his death, is saved. In this version the lover is saved by the blowing wind which sends him back into the arms of his sweetheart.[4]

Jamaica, on the south coast of St. Elizabeth, has a Lover's Leap Template:Convert/ft above the Caribbean Sea. Lovers' leap is named after two slave lovers from the 18th century, Mizzy and Tunkey. According to legend, their master, Chardley, liked Mizzy; so, in a bid to have her for himself, he arranged for her lover, Tunkey, to be sold to another estate. Mizzy and Tunkey fled to avoid being separated but were eventually chased to the edge of a large steep cliff. Rather than face being caught and separated, the lovers embraced and jumped over the cliff.[5] The story was used as the basis for a romantic novel.[6]

Wills Mountain has a Lover's Leap overlooking "the Narrows" at Cumberland, Maryland, USA. It is Template:Convert/ft above sea level and made up of oddly squared projections of rock from its top all the way down to the National Highway (U.S. Rte. 40) below. The City of Cumberland and the surrounding states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia may be seen from this point.[citation needed]

The historic California Gold Rush era town of Knights Ferry, California has a USGS designated Lovers Leap overlooking an area along the Stanislaus River. The Leap itself is a small cap of exposed limestone standing above the surrounding hillside, with a 250 foot vertical drop into the river below. The cliff is located southwest of the town alongside California 120/108 and is viewed by several million people a year as they pass by on their way to Yosemite National Park and other regional attractions. Though the highway passes within a few hundred feet of the top of the Leap, the cliff itself is located on private ranchland and is not accessible to the public. Depending on which version of the local lore you believe, the point was given its name after a miners wife threw herself from its top after her young husband was killed working the gold fields, or after a young miner threw himself from the top after the woman he was pursuing chose another man. A third legend mirrors other Lovers Leap locations, claiming that two young Native Americans threw themselves from the point.

List of locationsEdit

In the United States
File:Lover's Leap, Cumberland Narrows, MD.jpg
Elsewhere

LegendsEdit

Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi writes: "There are fifty Lover's Leaps along the Mississippi from whose summit disappointed Indian girls have jumped."[7][8] Princess Winona is one such legend, in which Princess Winona leaps to her death rather than marry a suitor she does not love.[9] Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, USA, is one site for the Princess Winona legend, though other locations include Winona Falls in Pennsylvania, Camden County, Missouri and Cameron Park in Waco, Texas.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Lover's Leap: Based on the Jamaican Legend, Horane Smith, Minerva Press (June 1, 1999), ISBN 0-7541-0589-X

External linksEdit

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