I was supposed to go to the Whitewater Center with a friend on Saturday but she ended up having to work so I figured I would save that for a week day when it'd be more quiet there and instead I went hiking at Stone Mountain State Park, which is about 90 minutes from Charlotte. I got there at 8:30 and there were only 2 other cars in the parking lot so I mostly had the trail to myself which was nice!
Early on in the hike there were great look-out spots which was nice. As you can see, it was a gorgeous days. Temps were in the 50s when I started and up to the 80s by the finish so I am glad I got an early start!
I climbed to the summit first which was strenuous but the switch-backs made it easier than if I would have had to climb stairs. There were stairs on the other side of the summit so I am glad I went the direction I did!
I hiked a couple of trails off the main trail so got lots of different views of the horizon. I will spare you the many, many pictures of the horizon that I took, but here is one of them.
About 2/3 of the way through the trail, you got a view of Stone Mountain itself.
And then I hit the "falls" part of the trail. I love trails that go by water as the sound and views of rushing water are so peaceful.
I did have some mishaps on this hike. First, I fell and slid down some rocks when trying to get a picture of one of the small waterfalls. Ouch. The rocks did not look wet so this fall took me by surprise! I had the hardest time climbing back up as the rocks were so slippery.
My second mishap was when I was crossing a stream. In hindsight I should have realized there were far to many rocks to step on and I should have taken off my socks and shoes. But I didn't which means I stepped into water up to my ankle on both feet. Hiking with wet socks/shoes is not ideal but it was towards the end of my hike so wasn't a big deal!
After about 3.5 hours of hiking, I got to the main attraction, which is the main waterfall. I sat on some rocks at the base of the waterfall and had my lunch. After about 9 miles of hiking, I was ravenous!
Speaking of lunch, this is what I have been eating on my last two hikes, along with a tuna sandwich that I made at home. These gopicnic meals are awesome as you get lots of different snacks like trail mix and crackers with some kind of spread. I liked the first box I tried better as it had hummus with my favorite GF crackers. I got these on sales at Target for $3.50 each which I think is reasonable. It'd be a great little snack to bring on a long plane ride, so I will definitely be buying these in the future.
After resting for a bit, it was time to head back to the parking lot - which was located at the top of the falls... which means I had what felt like 1,000 stairs to climb. They just kept going and going and going. My legs were already tired from hiking 9 miles so I was really ready to be done with the stairs when I got to the summit.
Luckily there were views of the waterfall along some parts of the staircases.
Finally, I reached the top and was awarded with this beautiful view.
|Exhausted and happy to be safely back to the car!|
I'm so glad I'm getting a chance to explore more of NC before I leave. When I was doing this hike I was thinking about how a year ago, I would have been getting up and settling in for 6-8 hours of CFA studying. Boy am I glad that phase is behind me. It's been fun to explore all these hiking trails - I only wish I hadn't been in the boot all summer for that stress fracture as I think being able to do hikes like these on the weekends would have made living in Charlotte more tolerable, but oh well!
If you found out you were leaving the area where you live, what would make your 'bucket list' of things to do/see? I have a couple more hikes I want to do, and a couple of restaurants I want to eat at before I leave Charlotte.