Despite going to the Boone / Blowing Rock area every year for the past few years, we were pretty hesitant this year. With face masks and caution, we ventured up for ~12 days and braved the crowds. With significant rain in the forecast starting at Day 4, we decided to liven it up by shooting a lot of video and trying to document what a weird year of hiking it was. Enjoy!
Hey all! For anyone interested in some Blue Ridge hiking guidance, here are all of the hikes Rob and I did on our annual October Blue Ridge trip this year, ordered chronologically and labeled with our distance and elevation gain. These differ a little bit from the published info (we sometimes combined trails and extended them).
We accomplished a pretty large increase in our hiking distance this year: 79.5mi, up from 55.4mi. I don’t know if my poor aching IT bands could take much more, but it didn’t feel all that crazy!
- Sam Knob (2.5mi, 557ft)
- Cat Gap Loop to John Rock (6.2mi, 1154ft)
- Grassy Creek Falls (1.8mi, 400ft)
- Crabtree Falls Loop (2.6mi, 577ft)
- Trout Lake Carriage (3.3mi, 300ft)
- Rich Mountain Carriage / Deer Park Loop (5.3mi, 756ft)
- Cascades / Tompkins (2.3mi, 272ft)
- Rough Ridge (1.5mi, 362ft)
- Bass Lake Loop (1mi, 20ft)
- Black Ridge Loop (3mi, 574ft)
- Fisher Peak Loop (2.2mi, 233ft)
- Bass Lake Loop Extended (2.8mi, 170ft)
- Price Lake Loop (2.2mi, 72ft)
- Elk Knob Summit (4mi, 971ft)
- Green Knob Loop (2mi, 515ft)
Last Wednesday, my friend Vic and I took off toward Charlotte for a couple opportunities at checking out the suburbs on the way to and back from Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I’m half-considering the move to Charlotte for a change of scenery and closer proximity to the mountains, but I also just wanted to get away for a bit and breathe some crisp, fresh, cold mountain air. Some thoughts and highlights from the trip!
- We unintentionally ended up at the same Arby’s on the way up and the way back. We got embarrassingly bad service both times, but nothing stopped those Chicken Bacon & Swiss from being delicious.
- The southern and eastern areas around the 485 (Charlotte’s beltway) are pretty nice! I could definitely see myself staying there if the opportunity was right.
- The typical places described as desirable north of the city (Davidson, Mooresville, Huntersville, etc.) are very crowded and the traffic / construction on I-77 was horrible by 2:30pm on a Thursday. I don’t think I could deal with that, but the parks and amenities on Lake Norman felt like they could be frequent visits.
- Our room at the Hemlock Inn in Blowing Rock was upgraded to…the same room Rob and I stayed in last October. Not complaining!
- Restaurants that remain stellar: Local Lion, Bella’s, Our Daily Bread. Those that weren’t so great this time: Capone’s, Blowing Rock Brewery. New find that is pretty solid: The New Public House’s breakfast.
- The weather and forecast only gave us a couple mornings’ worth of sunshine so we crammed a lot of hiking into those windows. Friday morning we hiked a trio of trails (Beacon Heights, Flat Rock, and Linville Falls Plunge Basin) and braved a starting temp of 25* Sunday for the Green Knob loop. On our dreary, wet Saturday, we stuck to the flat lake loops (Trout Lake and Bass Lake).
- I joined my team’s Daily Standup from the top of Beacon Heights.
- It snowed Saturday night and I was a nervous wreck, having never driven in snow. But uh, it was mostly just in the air, and literally everyone I asked rolled their eyes at me. It made for a really pretty Sunday morning hike atmosphere!
- Vic started a new Pokemon Go account on Wednesday and was level 21 by the end of the trip. Oh look a Wailmer!
All in all, a pretty great trip! It’s a nice holdover until Rob and I likely return for another early-October week in the mountains. For now, back to work finishing out the Spring semester and looking forward to an early-May trip out to the Bay Area!
We hiked a lot this year in the mountains! I figured I’d throw together a quick list of the hikes with some links to the trail maps and reviews. I’d recommend all of them, but details can be found in the previous blog post thingy.
- Day 1:
- Day 2:
- Day 3:
- Trout Lake Loop (1.2mi loop, 85ft)
- Day 4:
- Day 5:
- Day 6:
- Day 7
- Green Knob (2.2mi loop, 613ft)
- Day 8
- Rough Ridge (0.8mi out/back, 268ft)