Hiking the Balds at Roan Mountain

Mike Chase, two dogs and me!

October 6, 2017

I’ve never hiked with two dogs before and Cooper isn’t much for riding in cars. We set off for the 2.5 hr ride to Roan Mountain. First stop breakfast in Kings mountain, just Bojangles.

I forgot to mention we did go to empire pizza to “carb up” for today. Cajun shrimp pasta. It’s only a 5 mile walk but I’m always looking for a reason to carb up!

We decide to take 216 through Cherryville to 226. It comes dangerously close to Bones jones place in Falston, NC . He has been smoking ribs and pork. Oh I want to stop on the way back!

We hop on 226 which goes right through Marion and Spruce Pine. Then begins its curved climb to Roan Mountain.

We stop at Subway in Spruce Pine to get a Sandwich and chips for the top.

When we arrive there are lots of cars and the parking lot is full. It’s Friday so I thought it wouldn’t be so crowded.

We grab our stuff, Mike proceeds to fill his cargo shorts with everything smokable. He has 2 vape batteries, 2 bottles of Juice and whatever else he put in there. He has his priorities and I have mine. 🤦‍♀️ We unload the dogs and put on their leashes and head to the trailhead. They are raring to go! They have to sniff and pee on everything. I begin to wonder if after a while they will just walk?

After a few minutes on the trail we come to my favorite part! It’s the Balsam Pine forest. It’s darker and cooler in there. The pines don’t have any needles on the bottom branches and their tops block out the sun. It smells so good in there like cedar and pine. Shortly after the Pine forest Mike is having a hard time I take the dogs and give him my trekking poles. It’s time for him to take a sit. It was .7 miles to be exact. I can’t help but snap a pic and text Lisa and Sherri! Lisa’s response is simple 🤣. Sherri on the other hand says ‘tell him to get his ass up 😏” my phone is just singing from text messages. He said are you making fun of me? No of course not😇

He wants to eat! Seriously it’s like 10:30. He opens his chips and starts munching. Then of course he has to get some vaping in. I suggest he breathe in the clean mountain air but that just gives him more reason to vape!

Finally we are going again. I guess he got his groove on cause he powered through the next mile till we take a break on top of the Round bald which is the first bald. It’s cool up here. There are some of the best views here in every direction. Then we head down the other side and up the next bald. Each one is unique this one has lots of rhododendrons. It’s thick as can be and has a narrow path between them in a sort of rock gully. I really need to come in June when they are blooming.

You can see how thick they are. This is mike coming up the path. There is a cool campsite in this area and people in it.

At the top of the 2nd bald we rest again. Mikes cargo pockets have a hole and he is dropping vape pieces every couple of steps! He gathers up his “priorities” and now guess what? Yep in my backpack they go! Off we go to the 3rd bald. It’s so amazing up here. Tucker is the little yorkie and probably 9 or 10. He is a rescue so we don’t know. He is getting tired and I try to pull him along and he plants his feet and puts his head down in the grass with a firm No!

Mike is gonna carry him for a little while! Next we take a little rest about .2 of a mile from the top of grassy ridge and meet this young couple. He is fresh out of the marines so he is in great shape. Her on the other hand has probably been complaining the whole way! I quickly realize Mike isn’t so bad to hike with after all!

She wants to stay behind with Mike. Well Mike lets her know he is making it to the top!

Off they go and a few minutes later we start. We quickly catch up to them and I can here her complaining. 😳I walk beside her a few minutes then just decide to pass her. I mean it’s only 2.5 miles to the end and for a 20 something it shouldn’t be that hard! Well we get to the top. it’s another awesome view. We find a spot and have lunch. We sit for a while enjoy the views, eat our Subway. all in all Mike did a great job hiking. He was slow and steady and powered through the up hills!

Now it’s time to go back. It’s surely easier but you still have some climbs. We didn’t do to much stopping but at the middle bald I’m out of water. Mike takes one break to finish his lunch. When we start again I’m just gonna go meet him at the car.

We encounter a lot of dogs on the way back. My dogs are not really dog friendly. They are down right bullies. The bigger the dog the badder they are. Especially Tucker the yorkie. Little man syndrome.

I’m trying to train them to act right, I hold the leashes tight tell them to be nice or swatch their butts. Coopers getting better but not tucker!

Right after the balsam Pines here come Mike just a booking down the trail. He really got his groove back. He said gravity was pulling his big belly down the trail!😁 whatever it takes! Time to get back in shape!

It’s 3 ish time to leave. I’m driving so off we go back down the windy roads. Doesn’t take to long and the 3 boys are out cold.

We just take 226 straight to Shelby NC. I really want to stop for BBQ but we try to think of something healthier. We end up a Japanese to go. Mike gets Hibachi steak with mushrooms I get Hibachi shrimp and I get the dogs a side of Hibachi steak. They are loving this but Mike can’t stand to see them eating steak! Jealous!

That was a great day. But everyday on the trail is a great day to me!

Until next time.


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