Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hiking Governor's Rock

Around here, we see wonderful fall leave foliage. It's what is everyone is talking about for weeks, it's just that beautiful. So how better to enjoy the color explosion than to go out there.

That's why we met up with some co-workers of mine to hike to the Table Rock summit in the Table Rock State Park. This is Table Rock from an viewing area in the valley:

As the title of the post already implicates, we didn't quite make it up to the top, but called it a day after reaching "Governor's Rock" about 2.3 miles into the Table Rock trail. But I jump ahead here a little.

The trail was classified as "strenuous" and for the 3.6 mile hike up to the top, they projected two to three hours. Most of the time, I feel like those classifications are pretty conservative, but they are pretty much dead on on this one.

Around 12PM we finally hit the trail behind the nature center. We had to register and everything, so they can make sure that nobody got lost on the trails in the evening. It was a beautiful day yesterday and of course the trails were packed. Especially, as long as we were on the Carrick loop which is an hour hike around the valley with some waterfalls. After we took the turn unto the Table Rock Trail, things thinned out a little, which made it easier for our group of eight adults and three dogs.

As soon as we got on the Table Rock Trail, the trail got a lot steeper. But heck, we are all in good shape and the time passed quickly with conversations and views. Half way up the trail is a little picnic shelter with a gorgeous view over to the Table Rock reservoir:

Shortly after the shelter, the trail meets with the Ridge Trail. This trail connects the two summits in the park. One of them is Pinnacle Mountain and the other said Table Rock. The trail flattened out some, since we followed the ridge line, which was a welcomed break for all of us. Just shortly before Governor's Rock, we had to start climbing again and one of the older dog ladies that were with us, had to be given a hand in a couple of sections. That was a flashback to a couple of weeks ago, when Terry had to carry Karma up the ladders at the Grandfather Mountain hike. But here is Emma's moment of weakness! ;-)

Up there on Governor's Rock, the views are just amazing. We sat down to soak it all in and to have a snack. There was a pretty colorful folk up to be seen as well. The college girls and a guy that lost his shirt, but managed to have a radio with him (he is in the background of the following pic). A guy with his son that already hike Pinnacle Mountain that morning and they were on their way up Table Rock, when we met them... By the way... The just got off the trail when we were about to leave the parking lot later on... These guys were moving. Also, we met an older gentleman who was spicing up his hike with some letterboxing.

On the rock I took a poll about who is going to join to go to the top, but it was decided that we will call it a day right there. After maybe half an hour, we started our way down again. That was a lot of pounding on the old bones, but there was certainly a pull in everyone to get down this mountain.

Once we got back to the nature center, we put the other half of our registration in the box and sat down on one of the picnic tables for a couple of minutes.

I really enjoyed the hike. The weather was great, the trails were very nice maintained (thank a boy scout) and the company was great... But next time, I want to go all the way... Maybe we'll find another weekend this year to do it, since it's just half an hour drive for us. :-)

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