It was a hot summer Saturday and my girl Caroline and I ventured out on our own again to explore some mountains near Charlotte, NC.
Our first stop was at Morrow Mountain State Park, located in Albemarle, NC. As I have been here a few times previously, I stopped in to obtain my stamp, and headed onward as I wanted to spend more time hiking at my next stop.
The park offers a variety of activities including boating, fishing, and swimming — along with plenty of hiking trails for not only your two feet, but horses as well, and there’s also camping for family/groups, or you can go primitive. With something for everyone, you are sure to enjoy your time at Morrow Mountain. With the Pee Dee River and Lake Tillery right here, the scenery is beautiful as the clouds reflect against the water and provide soothing sounds to quiet your mind.
As my most recent visit to Morrow Mountain was last fall, here’s some shots I took for you to gaze upon. And here’s the park Website: https://www.ncparks.gov/morrow-mountain-state-park.
Our next stop was about 30-minutes away — Crowders Mountain State Park. Located in Kings Mountain, NC, Crowders Mountain is just that… CROWDED. The park entrance was closed with signs stating “Come back later”, and “No stopping, keep moving”. I found a place to park by following everyone else down a little side road off Sparrow Springs Road near the park entrance. A lady was offering her home’s yard as grounds for parking and provided this for free and even gave me dog poop bags for Caroline.
The walk into the park wasn’t far from where we had left the car, and the Rangers were very friendly and gave Caroline some love as we trotted through. We got our stamp, a map, and headed down towards the trail.
I’m a mess when I’m hiking alone, and it was hot. Caroline wasn’t happy because of the gravel as it’s very thick rock gravel and her paws weren’t up for it. Working with these two struggles we had intended to do a moderate trail: the Crowders Trail (2.M). But we took a wrong turn somehow…go figure! As I have stated earlier this place was CROWDED, and I mean slam packed. Between stopping for everyone to pet Caroline, and trying to coach her up the hills, she ended up off-leash, sticking right next to me the whole way up. We ended up turning onto the strenuous Rocktop Trail (1.5M), which puts you out at the Crowders Mountain Towers with an amazing overlook.
As we sat down on a rock to rest, a man passed and I asked him how much longer we had. He informed me that it wasn’t far but to be careful as it was crowded (you think?), and with a dog it might be difficult to maneuver around with so many people.
He gave me positive vibes, however, and said it should be fine, because I “got four wheel drive with a dog like that!”, and before I knew it her four wheel drive kicked in and she ran up this side trail in the dirt and straight up a hill. Looking back to make sure I was coming, we continued up this steep hill taking breaks as needed. We found wild blueberries, and an energy we thought had been exhausted at this point. Before we knew it we had taken a huge cut off the main trail and made it to the top where the towers are. It’s fenced off and tight, with rocks to climb up and over as you continue along the trail.
We made it. At the top we were, with a lot of kids and not a lot of space to squeeze in for a view. Caroline dragged me to a spot and sat down ready for her picture to get taken and to gulp some water.
It feels like you’re on top of the world at the top of Crowders Mountain.
The ironic part is that last year, I fell and split my head open on a rock at this same spot just after this satisfying arms open picture was taken.
So of course I had to come back and revisit.
The traumatic falling blog can be read here: https://behindthecamerasnaps.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/falling/.
As Caroline dragged me to this exact spot and up and down a mountain this day, I realized that I can overcome and achieve anything I want to. I also realized the love and support that this dog has for people. She wasn’t going to quit, and she would never leave my side. She was my motivation to keep going.
Crowders Mountain website: https://www.ncparks.gov/crowders-mountain-state-park.
Also, I was well equipped this time with a First-Aid Kit, and a headlamp…I guess you can say through TRAIL AND ERROR we are figuring this hiking thing out.
Until next time, happy hiking!