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!!