Oh happy days! Spring is here in full force and I am soaking it up as much as possible! I have spent the past three days on wonderful hikes, my trusty four legged side-kick has been loving all of this exercise, and I am determined to continue spending as much time as possible outside on the trails. I plan on hiking again tomorrow and backpacking this weekend. To say that I’m hooked again is an understatement. I am so lucky to live in a place where trails are so easily accessible and now that the sun is setting later it makes it much easier to get out after work.
I have several hikes to tell you about but I’ll start with first I did this week: John Rock, Brevard, NC
The trail head to John Rock is easily accessible and not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and very close to the heart of Brevard. As part of the Pisgah National Forest, the hike up to John Rock is beautiful to say the least. I’m in the ‘taking it easy’ or ‘easing into it’ phase of hiking since I got the green light from my doctors to start hiking again. As much as I want to push myself I really have to focus on picking easier trails that aren’t too steep, the last thing I want to do is end up at the doctors office again.
John Rock is an easy 5 Mile loop. We opted out of the loop part because it would be steeper and I can’t handle that just yet. The trail crosses over sections of creeks with well maintained bridges or strategically placed rocks. My four-legged child had a blast splashing around in the water and it gave him a chance to cool off. We passed several people on the way up setting up their campsites, and I’ll admit that I was a little green with envy (maybe next time).
Signs of spring popped up all over the trail, specks of green fighting to overrun the brown that winter left behind. Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurel offered some shelter from the warm spring sun, it’s rays a shock to my skin that had grown so used to the cold winter winds. Once we reached the top the views were spectacular, John Rock looks out onto Looking Grass Rock and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, the river just a small line in the distance. Clouds threatened to flow over the mountains in the distance, the dark gray formations threatening to get us wet on the descent.
We rested on the rock, enjoying the views and the gentle breeze that cooled us down. I could have stayed there for hours, the peace that fills me in these moments is enough to fuel me for the week. As the clouds neared us we decided it was best to start heading back, I knew it was going to be slow-going because of my knee. We made it back to the car with no problem, and for the most part we had the trail to ourselves, despite the amazing weather. for a second a gentle mist threatened to bring on heavier rain, but the clouds remained merely a threat and nothing more. Not that I would have minded the rain.
We ended the day at Oskar Blues Brewery, just a quick drive up the road. Nothing like a sunset, good beer, good food, and good company to end a perfect day of hiking.
I am so thankful to be hiking again. I couldn’t have asked for better weather this past weekend. I have so many trails to explore and a lot of work today as build up to carry weight and adding distance and steeper climbs. I feel more relaxed than I have in a long time. I just have to remind myself to keep up with physical therapy.
For a great guide to hiking up to John Rock, check out Romantic Asheville.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for a post on another inspirational woman in the outdoor world, if you missed it last week, read about Cecilie Skog!