HANGING ROCK - TWO WARM FEBRUARY HIKES
Hanging Rock State Park is one of my favorite places to hike. Only 30 minutes from my home, it offers some of the best climbs and views that you could hope for 100 miles east of the Blue Ridge Parkway. For two straight Sundays in February it was nearly 80 degrees so the FBWG took off to get into trail shape for the season....and on the first Saturday took along my Adopted Yankee Daughter (AYD)
The AYD taking a look at our first destination....we decided to hike to the peak of Hanging Rock Mountain then take the Wolf Rock Trail to House Rock. My AYD had never been to Hanging Rock nor had she ever hiked with the FBWG....and she set a pace that wore the old guy out!
My AYD and I hiked about six miles...from the Lake Parking lot to the peak of Hanging Rock then along the Wolf Rock Trail to one of my favorite overlooks.....House Rock. Looking back on Hanging Rock, we got an idea of how far we hiked. While on the peak of Hanging Rock we met Bailey who struck a pose at the edge of the cliff. While my AYD was contented with just the back drop of Moore's Knob
As reported before, Hanging Rock Knob hike is not one of my favorite hikes. For two reasons. First, it has steps...nearly 300 steps mark the final ascent. Second it is a sociable hike....it is one of the more popular destinations for all kinds of people, their extended family...and of course their dogs. It is only a 1.3 mile trail from the parking lot but it is very steep in places. Nevertheless I decided to return the following Sunday...but got there a little later and encountered about 500 hikers....nearly 100 on the knob alone!
So to get me in the mood to hike alone I plugged in my ear pods and rocked to the top listening to Waylon Jennings. Still even with all the people on the knob it was a majestic day and I took in some good views.
Most of the time I don't care for dogs on the trails...they have a good time but when you get 100 people and 50 dogs it can be too much. Nevertheless...I became enamored with this young German Shepherd "Loki" who posed for me.
On the way down, I paused to consider a side trail...and true to form found a nice place that I have named "Hidden Rock". The trail to this place is an unmarked spur trail located at the end of the last climb. The main trail turns left at this point...but if you look to the right there is a trail off into the woods. It leads to Hidden Rock. A large rock on top of the spine of a ridge. From the top of the rock is a great view to the northeast.
Being the only person on top of Hidden Rock, I suddenly wondered what would happen if I should fall and be injured. One of the risks hiking alone I suppose, especially if you take unmarked trails. So I decided to leave the rock scramble to these rocks for another day. Bet there is a good view up there?!
Being late in the day I decided to return to the lake parking lot by way of the Hanging Rock Trail. So I put in some Jamey Johnson singing Hank Cochran songs and trudged down the trail with all the other folks on the mountain. I was about to reach the end of the trail and encountered a lovely lady from News2 who was not at all dressed to hike. Telling her that I would make her famous by putting her in the blog, she offered to return the favor and interviewed me for a piece on News2 at 11.
Turns out someone fell from the Rock the day before...falling some 40 feet. Guess what folks, gravity sucks! Prayers for the young man who was injured. Hey be careful out there! By the way, the picture featured above is a person hanging from Balanced Rock...about six feet off the ground....got to admit...great effect!
Hanging Rock Trail is a great trail to hike on a lazy afternoon. It is short but steep and has a great view. Access is a 9...trail is a 8 (I hate steps!) .... scenery is a 9...effort to view ratio...near perfect...9....but you have to factor in the people and the dogs...the trail is much too sociable for me....overall grade is an 8
That being said....got to hang out at the lake on the way back to the car and caught an nice sunset.
Also got a couple of nice shots of the lake and Moore's Knob Mountain.
But the best setting for the lake was the boat house.
And a shot of the dam was nice too.