“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” ― Albert Einstein
Total Miles Hiked
Fun Level (1-10)
Spring has finally sprung in Charlotte and it makes me giddy just thinking about sundresses, flowers in bloom, and putting stacks of sweatshirts and coats in storage forever (or just until October). It’s Easter Sunday as well as April Fools Day as well as the beginning of a new month so Jordan and I thought it would be a great time to renew our hiking hobby.
It has honestly been quite a while since we blazed any trails. We changed careers last August as well as started a lot of extra-curricular activities, which has helped us grow in many ways but hiking has been bumped to the bottom of the priority list. Also winter has hung on longer this year than it has the past two years making us literal hermits due to our cryophobia. Thus the reason we needed to go on a ‘renew our hiking passion’ hike.
The two main criteria we have when picking a new location to hike is:
- Can we get there in under 2 hours from our apartment?
- Can the Corolla survive the drive?
We have gone to most of the places that fit that criteria already so I was very pleased when I scrolled across my maps app and found a section of green we haven’t been to yet in this area. Stone Mountain State Park is a good 1.5 hours North of Huntersville, it’s a straight shot on 77 which would normally be a frightening thought but on Sundays the traffic isn’t as heart-breaking.
We went to a wonderful church service at 8 a.m., cooked a huge breakfast of french toast and bacon, stopped by Harris Teeter to grab some trail mix, and headed on our way. It took us an especially long time to get going since we were rusty and couldn’t remember where half of our hiking gear was. But either way we eventually made it out of the door and on our way.
The signs to get to Stone Mountain from the highway were very clear but once we made it into the park all signs disappeared and we were left wondering, who stole the welcome center? We stopped at a random lot saw a “No Hiking” sign turned back around to another random lot then decided to keep going forward because surely we missed something. We found the trailheads and parking lot eventually but I wish State Parks would help those of us with directional deficiencies out more. We need a big neon arrow pointing to the trailhead or we won’t see it and will spend 30 minutes wandering aimlessly.
We decided to take Stone Mountain Loop Trail which is 4.5 miles long with lots of fun things to see along the way. Soon after starting on the trail you come across a big open field with a handful of buildings scattered about. This was the location of the Hutchensons homestead. Built around 1850 the homestead had everything a 10-person family would need, a house, barn, garden, outhouse etc. The family was self-sustaining growing their own vegetables, building their own buildings and raising their own chickens. Standing there in my bright neon Star Wars tank top I clashed with the aesthetic in a major way and felt keenly that a lot of things have changed in the last century and a half. After a nice long dose of nostalgia we decided it was time to move on before we decided to turn in our iphones and live off the grid.
The trail was well-maintained with lots of bridges and steps to keep us occupied. It was busier than I anticipated it would be for Easter Sunday but not so busy that my introverted self was uncomfortable. Half-way through the hike you come across a fantastic waterfall that gracefully slopes down a huge slab of rock. I turn into a 5-year old everytime I see a waterfall and go crazy over it as if I’ve never seen one in my life. The trail turns into a set of 10,000 steps (not literally) that goes up the side of the waterfall and gives a splendid view from the top. The trail leads you to an open section of rock that you can climb over and explore, this is where we decided to break for a while and munch on our trail mix. Although the bag claimed it had 15 servings inside we proved it wrong and ate half of it. From there the trail levels out for about 50 yards before you start heading back down the mountain. We got back to our car feeling great and re-inspired to hike!
The highlights for me were the waterfall (of course), the history lesson, as well as the great workout from the steep incline. This is definitely a state park I’d like to visit again since there were many trails we didn’t hike that had more waterfalls and scenic views. Lets hope our schedule allows us to go on another hike soon!