HANGING ROCK - FEBRUARY 2017
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 three straight weekends in February I hiked its trails. It was nearly 80 degrees on the first two hikes and about 40 degrees on the third Sunday.
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!
On the Third Sunday...it was perfect weather...38 degrees when we started....took along Easy Jake...he wore shorts!
Our goal was the grand loop....all 12 miles and three climbs to the three peaks of Hanging Rock State Park....a bucket list hike for me....we started out on Hanging Rock Trail....did I ever tell you I hate steps!
There are nearly 300 steps up the final ascent to the top of Hanging Rock....it never disappoints me....I huff and puff all the way to the top.
Going down the steps are easier on the thumper but harder on the knees....this is a steep short hike...but take your time if the FBWG can do it 3 weekends in a row...you can make it!
I realize what life is all about; it's hanging on when your heart's had enough; it's giving more when you feel like giving up" -Mortimer Peabody
Easy Jake had to take some risks....there he is hanging from the balanced rock like he was a kid....Good thing he did not let go or I would have lost my favorite banker!
Of course....it really was not that risky....he was only about six foot off the ground hanging on the tip of the balanced rock that is on the western side of the Hanging Rock Summit
The summit was windy but Jake got to see the route we would take to Cook's Wall Mountain by way of Wolf Rock and House Rock. But before we left the top he had to climb to the top of "Hidden Rock"
Leaving the Hanging Rock Summit we caught the Wolf Rock trail just as I did two weeks earlier with the AYD...it is a great trail...moderate and smooth....then we climbed to the House Rock....and looked back to see just how far we hiked....4.5 miles to be exact!
From House Rock we turned and trudged up the sneaky steep slope of Cook's Wall Mountain....Jake embarrassed me as he strode up the mountain while the FBWG struggled to keep up...hey I made it!
From the summit of Cook's Wall Mountain I captured my favorite view of Pilot Mountain and Sauratown Mountain.
Taking a picture to prove that Jake made it...we captured our next destination of Moore's Knob...only about 3.5 miles away! Turned out it was a bridge too far for the FBWG...we connected with the Moore's Knob trail via the Magnolia Spring Trail....just two miles away....but the FBWG was out of gas.....7.5 miles was all I had.....so we trudged back to the Lake Parking Lot....and logged 8.0 miles!
I am gonna make the Grande Loop this year....my bucket list hiking goal!
|MOORE'S KNOB VIEWED FROM HANGING ROCK|
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
|HOUSE ROCK VIEW EAST TOWARD WINSTON-SALEM|
Wolf Rock Trail is a wonderful ridge line trail connecting Hanging Rock to Wolf Rock, House Rock and Cooks Wall Mountain...The best access is off the Hanging Rock Trail....8; trail is an 8...well marked and moderate....scenery is an 8 Wolf Rock and woods is what you get....effort to view pretty good....overall grade 8;
|JAKE'S VIEW OF MOORE'S KNOB FROM COOK'S WALL MOUNTAIN|
Cook's Wall Mountain is a climb especially if you come from the Lake Trail....two hard climbs...the first to Wolf Rock Trail...the second from House Rock to the summit....trail is 8; scenery at House Rock and the summit are some of the best in the park....9...effort to view....side with effort...long hard slog...overall grade 8
All that being said....got to hang out at the lake on the way back to the car on my second Sunday 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.
I may be biased but I think Hanging Rock State Park offers some of the best hikes anywhere...including the Blue Ridge Mountains...if you live in the Piedmont Triad and have not hiked to Hanging Rock...you are missing a real treat....make it your bucket list hike this season! Check out my other trail reviews on this blog of Hanging Rock State Park...Take a hike in 2017!