River to Rock Challenge 2018

Sept 29, 2018

Sherri and I

Last year it was called Reach the Peaks,  this year it is River to Rock challenge at Hanging Rock State Park. We decided to camp in the park Friday night. It’s a real nice campground without water and electricity except the bathhouse. We grabbed some fettuccini Alfredo from a restaurant in MT Airy. You know to” carb” up! Best part of hiking per my carboholic self! We got to our camp spot set up camp, made a fire, then dug into our Alfredo. It was very good!

Turns out no WiFi either!!

We chilled a little bit then turned in. I heard the neighbor for what seemed like half the night. It was kinda hard to sleep for some reason. I had crazy dreams that I kept waking up from. Then I woke myself up from snoring! In the morning it was still a little dark and I heard Sherri get up. She goes straight for her Jet boil to make coffee.

She wasn’t very talkative so I figured I kept her awake with my snoring. 🙄. We had to pack up before we could head to the pick up sight. We had breakfast and I went to the bathhouse to shower. By the time I got back she was already packed up. That girl can pack faster than anything I’ve ever seen! ⚡️ I had to catch up and get ready to go. Oh the coffee was amazing! Don’t go camping without it! ☕️☕️

We had to be about a mile down the road in Danbury NC to catch the shuttle to the Dan River Access where the challenge was to start.

There were a couple hundred hikers and about 75 runners. The runners left first and the hikers went in 3 groups about 20 minutes apart.

We paid $35 for this challenge. We got a swag bag with a t-shirt, cooling towel, a wristband and a patch at the finish line. They also have water, apples and granola for us.

We met up with a guy we follow on Instagram. His name is Cypress. We do a lot of the same hikes. We finally met him in person. It was his 5th year doing the challenge.

We left in the 2nd hiker group. Probably 50 people. The first 3 miles of the trail went up slightly and followed the river but crosses over it 12 times. The first couple were almost impossible not to get your shoes wet!

The path leveled off for a while. Sherri was leading.  After about 2 miles of hiking near people Sherri looked at me and said “pass them” she knows I am happy to pass people!  I moved on ahead of them and after a bit we were finally were hiking alone. That’s how we like it. Sherri once said “I don’t dislike people I’m pro-solitude” that’s why we do the 6+ milers! Not many people out there.

It really was a beautiful trail. The next mile went by two waterfalls just as the trail got steep. Window Falls was just beautiful.

Then up steps (we hate steps) to Hidden Falls.

Just up the trail is the visitors center, which means more people. It’s just over a mile to Hanging Rock from here so it’s a popular spot. It’s a pretty hard mile though!

Lots and lots of steps. People everywhere resting and climbing. I managed to make it up the steps without stopping! I was a big ball of sweat but I did it! At the top they have Girl Scouts giving us a bracelet that we need to get to the patch at the end.

We sat at the top for a bit and had some food and water. I went out to the end of hanging rock and had someone take my picture. Standing here scares the hell out of me! It’s more than 100 ft down on 3 sides and this rock is only about 10 ft wide. Some idiot had his 7 year old daughter up here. She was past where I was standing!

The man taking my picture was taking to long and I started to get nervous.  Just had to look ahead.  I felt like I had to crouch down to feel safe. I went to the other side and had this picture made.

Then that idiot with the kid is just sitting there while his kid is drawing on the rocks with a sharpe. I’m kicking myself for not telling her to stop and explaining that that was graffiti.  Her dumb dad didn’t know I guess.🤦‍♀️

Half the challenge over now to go back down!

Lots of different mushrooms on the trail.  These look like coffee mushrooms!

This is an old abandoned house or barn along the trail.  There isn’t a road in or out to it anymore.

There is one point in the trail that crosses the road. This sign is there. I’m not sure it’s necessary but you know people!

Now that are feet have dried some it’s time to start crossing creeks again! Sherri counted each creek crossing which came to 12.  So 24 on the whole thing!

These are wet feet!  It’s gotten pretty warm out now that it’s afternoon. I did not avoid the water I got right in it, even dunked my head in!  Sherri just kept on truckin. She was leaving me in the dust between me playing in the water and taking pictures I kept loosing sight of her. Then I’d catch up then loose her.

Sherri took the plunge on the last two crossings.  I said that looked like a big ol “what the heck”!

We came across the finish line and they are announcing it.  Then they hand us our patch.  This is last years and this year.

They have food trucks and music and it’s at the Alehouse so there is beer. Then they shuttle us back to our car. 11 miles and 1400 ft elevation.

That was a pretty great weekend.  Between reach the peaks and River to Rock we liked reach the peaks best.  It has more reward! (Views).  So if you want to do this hike next year go to Reach the Peaks

It is a great event and is always the last weekend of September!

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