Thursday, February 9, 2012

Aaaaaand I Will Walk (no where near) 500 Miles!

January 2012

So the one day I have actually ventured out of Chapel Hill this semester so far was a day trip for a hike to Hanging Rock. I was asked along by Lindsay and Laura, who were planning on going to ‘scout out the area for a trip for their residents’ (yeah right – just wanted a day out!). Anyways, the four of us (Michael being the fourth) bundled into Lindsay’s car rather later than the planned departure time of 9.30am on the Sunday (I woke up late, and Michael was still hungover. Sorry tired…) and headed out in the GLORIOUS sunshine to Hanging Rock State Park. The drive was approximately 2 hours away over towards Winston-Salem, and with the music pumping and banter flowing (mainly directed at me for being British…) it went pretty quickly. Lunch consisting of slightly stale sandwiches from Rams (free food!) and some amazing muffins and Oreo truffles (don’t ask. Just trust me they were fantastic!)

Hanging Rock. With some muppet in the way.
Perfect for some thoughtful hanging around

After lunch we went in search of a map of the park, and stumbled across a proper old southern man manning the information desk. Michael took charge of the discussion about where to walk and what to see, and I disappeared outside to look at the view. Simply because I had absolutely no idea what the guy was saying. I felt as if I had arrived back in NC for the first time and had to adjust to peoples accents again. And then Lindsay say it wasn’t a bad accent at all… Bloody Americans not speaking proper English! Following on from the country man’s conversation with Michael we decided to hit two trails, both of which offered amazing views over the NC foothills and piedmont. The weather was simply amazing there, glorious sunshine and not quite cool – perfect walking weather! Being young fit things we managed to crack of the walks at a fairly steady pace, allowing for a lots of time spent at the top of the two peaks, as well and mucking around on the ways up and down…because we were such mature young adults. Obviously…

Looking out from the peak

The first trail up to Hanging Rock was a short but steep one, and offered some cool rocks to look over. We spent ages up their getting some cool photos and Lindsay getting lost in a cave of some sort! We also passed a part of the rock where people had written upon it and for the first time ever in my hiking life I graffiti-ed upon the rock. Just to show a bit of patriotic pride! The second trail was a much longer one up to Moore’s Knob (stop giggling – that is the name of it). Which, ironically, we had to drive to. Yes, typical America when you go for a day hike, you still have to drive between the two trails you want to walk on…

Up the Rock

Anyways, the views up Moore’s Knob were even better – being over 1000ft above sea level we could see right over to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As it was such a clear day as well you were able to see stuff really clearly and with the Carolina Blue sky it made it quite a sight. We didn’t leave the State Park until it was starting to get dark (maximising daylight hours there!) and had a long old drive back, with song choices taking on a more chilled nature, and me dozing off repeatedly in the front seat (I got quite good at calling shotgun!). With a short stop at Cookout (a classic North Carolina drive through place which is amazing!) to replace all the calories we had burnt off that day (when in America I guess…) and a slightly worrying moment where we thought we were about to get held up by a homeless guy simply looking for a dollar for some food (very awkward moment…) we made it back to the Hill within about 2 and a half hours. Plenty of time for the legs to stiffen up and for us to all resemble zombie walkers shuffling up the stairs to the dorms! 

Hell Yeah!

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