But thanks to the steroids I am on (which I have love/hat relationship with, I look forward to going off of it when my RA drug kicks in), my RA pain is a lot more manageable and my stress fracture is healed, so I am finally able to be a bit more active! I had a free weekend in Chalotte so asked a co-worker that I have hit it off with if her and her boyfriend were up for a day of hiking this past Saturday. Luckily they were! I don't let doing things on my own hold me back, but it's certainly way more fun to have some company!
We hit the road early Saturday morning and our first stop was Blowing Rock which is an adorable mountain town about 2 hours north of Charlotte. We did the Glen Burney Trail, which is accessible from downtown which meant we only had to park once. I'm all about having to move my car as little as possible.
The hike was about 1.6 miles round trip and I'd say it was pretty easy. The views were amazing as we saw several waterfalls!
By the time we finished that first hike, it was lunch time and we had definitely worked up an appetite so we hit up a cute diner. We saw an ice cream/sweet shop on our walk to lunch so we all decided to save room for dessert and I am so glad we did! I enjoyed a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, which was divine. I am totally obsessed with all things salted caramel these days.
The sweet shop also had lots of truffles and other treats. I got a small piece of salted caramel pecan chocolate bark (see above-reference salted caramel obsession) and managed to resist buying anything else.
They had a 'buy 2 get one free' special on their fudge, which is made in house, so my friend and her boyfriend bought three and let me try them. My favorite was (of course) the salted caramel fudge!
With our bellies full, we hit the road and drove part of the Blue Ridge Parkway to get to our next hike at Linville Falls. The drive was GORGEOUS. The Blue Ridge Parkway is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. and it's easy to see why. Of course this photo doesn't do it justice!
The Linville Falls areas had 2 sets of trails. We felt ambitious and were motivated to work off our ice cream, so we decided to do both sets of trails! We started off by checking out the upper falls area, which was beautiful.
Then we climbed up to a couple of different look-out points. The leaves are just starting to change so we got to see a little bit of fall folliage! Do you see that waterfall in the background??
Well, we headed back to the trail head and took the other set of trails, which led us closer and closer...
Until, bam - it was right there in front of us! Getting to this vantage point involved a pretty tough trail followed by climbing from rock to rock along the water. I would rate this hike as challenging, but we were rewarded for our efforts!!
When we got to this last spot, we all laid on a rock , resting and taking in the sight and sound of this powerful waterfall.
After relaxing for awhile, it was time to climb the trail back up to the parking lot area so we could hop back into the car and drive the 2 hours back to Charlotte. It was a full day as we spent 4 hours driving, but about 2.5 of those 4 hours were very scenic so it was not too much driving for me. We think we did about 5 miles of hiking, so we definitely were on our feet quite a bit, but it was so much fun. My feet hurt at the end of the day, but it was worth it.
I will defnitely return to this area as it offers many more hikes! There is talk of the 3 of us maybe going back to this area the last weekend of October, which is the next time I'll spend a weekend in Charlotte. I am glad that I've found some outdoorsy friends that I get along with so well. We were together for 11 hours straight and the time just flew - which is always a good sign.
I may be soft on Charlotte, but I sure do like North Carolina!!
Do you enjoy hiking? Do you live close to areas where you can hike? When I lived in Minneapolis, I lived about 2.5 hours from Duluth, MN which offers lots of hiking trails, but I never took advantage of it. I guess I just took it for granted and figured I would get there eventually. When I move back, I WILL be checking out that area.