Hirim Bare Rd (BRP) to Miller’s Campground (BRP)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 5
Date: May 22nd
Notes: Middle of the week hike.  We drove up to Miller’s Campground and set up at the site.  Let me tell you, this was one of the nicest campsites we’ve been to.  The people who run this place are really friendly, and we had no problems at all checking in and finding our reserved site.  After getting settled, we drove down the road (not far) and departed from Hirim Bare Rd, a few roads down from Hwy 18.

It was dark and gloomy and we knew that it was going to rain.  Before leaving the campground, we packed our rain gear.  About a mile or so in the hike it started sprinkling rain and finally, it was coming down pretty good (not as bad as when we were at Julian Price that one time) but enough for pack covers and rain jackets.  The rain eased up about 15 minutes or so, and in about another mile we took off our rain gear all together.

We did miss the turn not long after getting off South Laurel Fork Rd.  It was minor, but we did get pretty muddy staying on the main trail and not following the MST.  We corrected and found ourselves back on the Parkway again in short order.  We crossed over 18 and passed some restaurants that we were looking forward to try.  Sadly, they were all closed.  We turned up Miller Road and had to deal with a nasty growly dog.  He was scared of us, but it didn’t prevent him from coming up to us and growling and barking.  We kept walking and spoke nice words to him (didn’t help).  We turned into Miller’s Campground and climbed the short hill up to our site.

We ended the day by eating steaks with peppers/onions.  We were prepared to eat.

Total Miles: 3.2 miles

Julian Price Park (BRP) to Raven Rocks Overlook (BRP)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 5
Date: April 21st, 2018
Notes: We got an earlier start than usual and made it up to Raven Rocks Overlook bright and early on Saturday morning.  As we passed several overlooks along the way we noticed many people were out and had their cameras set up for a morning sunrise.  Raven Rocks was on the other side of the parkway away from the sunrise, so we were the only car there.  We left a car and departed for a fairly short drive down the parkway to Julian Price Park.  We left our car exactly where we parked it back in the Fall of 2016.  It took about a mile to get to the MST, and we set off for a fun day hike.

And it was fun!  Some of the most beautiful trail we’ve been on.  Two of the highlights was hiking through the Boone Fork Trail area.  There were a few creek crossings and river views.  We climbed with the aid of wooden steps and got to see several cascades.  Very beautiful and we had time to record these.

Another highlight was the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.  After the rugged area of the Boone Fork Trail and the steady climb up up and up (500 feet in elevation in just under half a mile) we reached the top of the carriage trail system and began walking the Rich Mountain Trail.  The trail or road or whatever was easy going and a gentle grade.  The uphills did not seem like uphills and we made great time in this area.    We took a break at the manor house and passing the carriage house.  It was a great time for a break and we had a quick snack while people watching.  Wanting to get some more miles in and not get too lazy, we got back up and continued down the road.

We crossed over US 221/321 on the Parkway, again a small and tight bridge made it scarier than it needed to be.  After a few hours, we made it to the top of a small meadow looking down to Thunder Hill Overlook (BRP).  The GPS said we were less than a mile, but looking down the path from the overlook I knew we had longer.  A small bet about dinner with K we set off for the cars.  Up and over and around the bend we made it back with about 4 hundredths of a mile over.  My bet was safe and secure.  We each bought our own dinner.

Dinner was enjoyed in Blowing Rock at the Speckled Trout.  I highly recommend this as a dining destination whenever you are in the Blowing Rock area.

Total Miles: 16.29

 

Cascades Recreation Area (BRP) to Hiram Bare Road (BRP)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 5
Date: April 21-22, 2017
Notes: Dropped off car at the Haislips.  Nice couple and very gracious to allow us to park on their property for 2 days.  Rain cut our trip down and generally not feeling well eliminated our desire to go all the way to Devil’s Garden Overlook.  We will return to complete Segment 5.
Total Miles: 23.93 miles