Mike, Cooper, Tucker, Sherri and I
This weekend we are going to do things a bit different. It is not very normal to head to a state park for me. They are great don’t get me wrong but there are so many cool places to hike in North Carolina that are not in a state park. AND I usually try to avoid hiking the same place twice since life is short.
In our usual fashion of late and little or no planning we decide to meet up with Sherri at Stone Mountain NC. She was planning on hiking alone so this was her destination. We decided Friday we would pack up and camp. That didn’t happen so Saturday morning we packed up the dogs and some gear and Mike found a cool little campground near Stone Mountain. Mike the Foodie wanted to go to Johnboy’s Ribs in Elkin on the way. That turned out to be a great idea. The food was great. We brought a rib plate back for later! Then we hit the local Foodlion to get some food for the weekend. Did I say little or no planning?
It was only about another 20 min to the campground. It was actually about 10 sites along the East Prong Roaring River. It was empty except for one tent. We picked out a nice spot and set up. For whatever reason I neglected to bring my camp pad or an air mattress?! Oh well its one night right? After we set up it was time for Cooper to bring his ball out. He loves to play fetch. Actually he is addicted to it. First throw Mike tosses it in the water. It just didn’t look that deep. Cooper was swimming hard when he realized he couldn’t touch! The ball sunk and oh dear. That dog will be looking for that ball all weekend! If we don’t find it we will be driving back to Elkin. It floated up and Mike chased it down river a bit and finally caught it!
We made a fire and chilled out all afternoon and evening. This is not an easy thing for me to do. I immediately fought the urge to go do something. Mike managed to take advantage of the Eno and take a nap.
The owner came by to collect some money and bring us firewood. Turns out his wife is a descendant of the Hutchinson Family. Her grandmother actually used to live at the homestead in Table Rock State park. It was built by the Hutchinson family in 1855. He said they had 8 children. One being her grandmother. I read that by 1950’s everyone had either left the mountain or died out. In 1969 the state of NC purchased the homestead and the land to become Stone Mountain State Park. They since restored the homestead and the outbuildings and made them into educational exhibits showing life back in the day.
We chilled the rest of the evening by the fire to the sound of the river.
We went to sleep early and were up, packed and ready to hike by 9 when Sherri arrived.
On the way in the back way we passed an old church called Garden Creek Baptist Church. They were having service and had the door open. It was established in 1897. I read it was one of only a few historic sites around that has not had any major renovations done. It was super cool. These are not my pictures though. I got them off their Facebook page.
We went to the Lower trail head parking and started up the Wolf Rock Trail. We got to the top of Wolf Rock. It was beautiful. Someone had tied an American Flag to an old tree. We took advantage of getting pictures here. Then up the trail to Cedar Rock.
Instead of taking the shortcut here we did the Blackjack Ridge Trail around. It ended up at the base of Stone Mountain and where the Hutchinson Place is. There were some rock climbers on it. Quite amazing actually. It looks so slick, like you would have to walk down it not climb. It is a dome of exposed granite over 600 feet high!
A little nerd lesson for you: it’s called a Monadnock, a Native American word meaning a mountain that rises from an area of relatively flat terrain. We thought it was like walking on the moon and had that Police song stuck in our heads for days!
Here Sherri and I took Cooper and continued on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. Mike took Tucker the Yorkie and hung around there watching the rock climbers then went back the Cedar Rock Trail for some extra mileage.
The 11 year old dog does pretty good but it would be a lot of uphill and a total of 7 miles if he continued. Probably to much for him!
The Stone Mountain Loop trail is up up up to the top of Stone Mountain, then down, down, down to the lower parking lot. I am not sure if one way is easier than the other. There are just a lot of steps, a waterfall with lots of steps and more steps.
It was just a beautiful day. Sherri and I finished around 8 miles. As we were leaving I went to Widows Creek falls just to get it off my list. Typical waterfall near the road. Full of people.
Then we headed home. The pups both slept all the way.