Tuesday, May 13, 2014

From the Land of Ma'am: Hiking at Hanging Rock State Park

OK, after yesterday's ranting post, I'm back to a more positive subject - my final hike in the Charlotte area!

Last Thursday I was able to do one more hike from the list of hikes a colleague had given to me when I moved here.  Hanging Rock State Park is about 2 hours from Charlotte, so not too far.  If I could redo the order in which I did these hikes, I would probably have started with this because while the trails and views were great, they weren't as great as Stone or South Mountain, so if I had done this hike first, I probably would have been more impressed than I was.  That said, the views were still great as you'll see from the photos below.

We skipped over spring and went to summer in this part of the country so I left early to try to get as much of my hike done in the morning.  It was still pretty warm when I started, probably around 70F/20C, and it warmed up to 85F/23C by the end of the hike but felt much warmer due to the humidity.

When I started off at the trail head, I could see "hanging rock" peaking through the tree.  It seemed farther away than 1.3 miles!

Early on in the hike, I saw some wild life.  It took quite awhile for this family of deer to move off the trail.  I don't know if I was quiet or if they are used to seeing humans but they hung out long enough for me to pull out my phone and get a photo!

After about a mile on the trail, I hit the first set of stairs.  My gosh I have climbed a lot of stairs in the last couple of weeks.

Oh but I wasn't done.  After the wood/gravel stairs, there were rock stairs.  I feel like no matter how good of shape I am in, stairs always leave me winded!

After huffing and puffing up those stairs, I made it to the look-out point.  It was a hot hazy day which you can tell from the photos of the horizon.

After enjoying the view for awhile, I turned around and continued down the trail to several other look-out points.  I'll spare you the series of photos which look nearly identical.  This was the view from the final look-out.  I could see another mountain called Pilot Mountain where my friend recommended I hike but I won't get a chance to get there

I did not stay there for very long because a little gecko ran up by me and scared the heck out of me.  Yes, I am scared of tiny lizards that are a fraction of my size.  In general I would say I was a bit spooked on this trail because I did not see many people and I heard a lot of rustling in the leaves/trees which would freak me out and make me think it was a snake. Ahhh!  So I played my music on my iPhone and did some random clapping/snapping on this hike to scare off lizards and snakes.  There were no snake sightings but I saw a lot of those little lizards on the trail.  Ick.

After doing that loop of trails, I headed to the waterfall trail loop and sat down by this waterfall and had lunch.  I had hiked about 9 miles at this point so I was famished!

I hiked another trail off this waterfall trail which had a look-out with the best view of the day IMO.  I like how you can faintly see the mountains in the distance!

Getting to that look-out required going down and up MORE stairs.  Hello, glutes and hamstring workout.

There was one final short trail to another waterfall that was only 0.6 miles round trip, so I did this final trail where I saw the prettiest waterfall of the day.

Phew, 10.4 miles later, I was blissfully exhausted, but happy.  As you can see in this photo, I have invested in a camel back (Osprey brand for anyone who cares).  This was my first hike using it and I LOVED it.  It has  little pocket for my phone and the back compartment where I had my lunch was really roomy.  And it made it much easier to drink during the hike.

After this hike, I totaled up my hiking mileage for the week and realized I had hiked 28 miles and ran 10 miles in the past 7 days.  That's a lot of time on my feet!

And this post concludes the Land of Ma'am post series because I can now shift my focus from making the most of my time down here to MOVING!!


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I hope you will do a similar series of posts in MN :) I'd love to see what you have around there!

This hike looks really pretty and I'm amazed how much hiking you were able to do! Now I am motivated to look for some good hikes around here.

Becky said...

You hiked so much! Woo! Love these photos - and yes to now being able to focus on MOVING!!!

Emilie said...

I feel the same way about stairs! I went to a concert on Friday night and took the stairs back to the parking garage and I was wiped out at the end. And it was only seven flights! You covered an incredible number of miles - nice job! Those waterfalls are gorgeous.

Marlys said...

That is a lot of miles to hike! Glad you were able to do that before you head northwest! It's nice you don't have to drive far to take in those views! I like that camel back and can see that it would come in so handy for hiking!
85 & humid - sounds rather miserable! It is really humid here, too, because of the rain but temps in the 30's in the mornings so not so good! I'm so anxious for warmer weather! We have had too much rain and the farming is really behind as well as construction!

Stephany said...

That's a whole lotta miles to cover in a week! Way to go, you! So cool you took advantage of all the hiking opportunities during this time off.


missris said...

Stairs ALWAYS make me winded, no matter how good a shape I think I'm in!

Nora said...

Holy lots of miles! You're awesome. I love anything that involves stairs or climbing; makes my glutes happy. (It's why I'm in love with our Tread Climber!)

Gorgeous photos and what's even more gorgeous? The fact that you're MOVING!!!!

Marisa A. said...

Yay! I have a Camelbak and I love it! I actually use it for my long runs too but I love that it's versatile and can take it basically anywhere. They are such a great investment. Glad I'm not the only one who feels like no matter how in shape I am, I always feel like I'm going to have a heart attack going up stairs.

Carolina John said...

Farewell to the Land of Ma'am! And good luck with the move, that's going to be quite comfortable to get settled back into MN next week.

We did totally skip spring. i hate it when that happens. stupid global warming.

I did a bike ride up Pilot Mountain once, it's pretty incredible. If you ever watched the Andy Griffith Show, they were in Mayberry which IRL is Mt Airy, NC, and they were always heading up to Mt Pilot to get something. So there's lots of Andy Griffith stuff around the area, it's more than just a cool hike.

A said...

All of those stairs! I'm sore from just reading about your hike.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Loved this last Land of Ma'am post and am totally impressed with all those miles under your belt - a sure sign your RA is under control!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Hiking sounds like so much fun!!! I really want to go someday, you have done so much of it!!

Jeanie said...

Those don't look like easy stairs, either -- but I think the steps might be easier than the non-steps at that height! And the views are great. So glad you had a great last hike.

Happy packing!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Eeeeeeeeeee, moving!!!! I'm excited for you :-)

Abby said...

This looks like such a beautiful hike!! I love getting to see wildlife when hiking!! That is so cool you were able to get so closet to the deer.

Okay, I don't like seeing bears. One time we encountered a bear, and it growled, and we had to run down the mountain. I did not enjoy that.

I'm glad you invested in a camelback! They are so great!!

I'm glad you are getting to see some of the pretty and nice things the south has to offer, for some good memories before you go back "home"!

Alli said...

All of the beautiful, scenic photos you've been posting lately make me think that NC could actually be a really nice place if it wasn't for the humidity and, well, the people ;)

Elizabeth said...

What a great final outing though! I bet those stairs totally were brutal. What a great spot for lunch though. Good to hear about the camelback. I borrowed the ex's in Feb and since I haven't talked to him since then, he has yet to request it back....but I don't think he'll just forget it....so I might be in the market for one. I've thought about getting just the running ones and not the bag part for long runs---have you used one for that or what do you use to hydrate on longer runs?

Amber said...

A 10 mile hike is seriously no joke! I've done long trail runs but the longest hike I've ever done was about 11 miles and I was super wiped after because I was on my feet longer than during most long trail runs! I'm so glad you had some great weather to enjoy those hikes your last few weeks in Charlotte!