Graybeard Mountain Overlook (BRP) to Hwy 128 (Mt. Mitchell State Park)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 3
Date: July 20, 2018
Notes: We decided to take a mid-summer detour away from Falls Lake area and complete a small portion of hiking up and around Mt. Mitchell.  Thankfully a spot came available at Mt. Mitchell so we made our reservation.  We have also been itching to introduce our daughters to hiking more than just a little neighborhood park hike, why not bring them out on the MST?

So R & K joined us for what we thought was going to be a 2-day adventure out in the woods.  We parked our destination car and drove down the parkway to start at the Graybeard Mountain Overlook.  We knew we had some hills to climb on our first day.  But before we made it back down to the parkway we came across some wonderful wild blueberry bushes and could not get away, they were very plentiful and bursting with flavor.

We made it back down to the parkway at Walker Knob Overlook and began our assault of Blackstock knob a 6,320-foot mountain that’s one of the largest in NC.  We were pleased with how well the girls got up and over and managed to traverse the many blowdowns.  We went at a much slower pace than usual, but this was a hike that we were not going to rush and enjoy as it is one of our last mountain hikes on the MST.

Camping was awesome!  But I will save the details for another blog post, and due to a storm, we decided to cancel day 2 and return when we are less soggy.

Total Miles: 8.77

Miller’s Campground (BRP) to Devil’s Garden Overlook (BRP)

Hike: Mountains to Sea Trail – Segment 5
Date: May 23rd
Notes: Middle of the week hike, day 2. We had a leisurely morning and had a morning breakfast of eggs and bacon. We broke camp and packed all our gear and set up the cars. We left mine at the overlook which brought back a ton of memories. Way back in 2015 we started this adventure, and I’m surprised that we are continuing. We only have two more hikes after this one in the mountains.

We drove back to Miller’s Campground and set out for a full day. We did not go fast on this hike. We took our time and paid attention to nature and the things that the trail was giving us.

We had some steep climbs, one being Bluff Mountain just outside of Doughton Park. It was worth it and we had beautiful views. We also had wonderful memories of camping at Doughton when we were younger. I also enjoyed looking at the old and forgotten picnic tables throughout the park. Remnants of the past.

We finished our day strong and while it seemed like the last mile or two took forever, we finally came out of the woods descending upon Devil’s Garden Overlook. Segment 5 is in the books!

Total Miles: 13.66

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