The first weekend in August, Happy took us to TN to Roan Mountain State Park. WOW! So glad, we finally made it to Roan. It is one of my new faves. The campground is in a lush hardwood forest with the Doe River running through it. There are numerous trails from the campground, which is always a bonus. The park had live music at the campground amphitheater, both Friday and Saturday night. Both acts were really good, particularly Saturday night’s act, Marshall Bellew, of WNCW’s Frank on Friday. He rocked!
On Saturday morning, we decided to hike to the Miller Farmstead in the park. Little did we know, the road in was straight up a mountain with no switchbacks…It was one of the toughest hikes we’ve ever done. We hiked back on the Chesnut Ridge Trail, thinking it had to be easier, but it wasn’t really. The ridge went up and down and back up several mountains…It ended up being a 12 mile butt-kicker kind of day. All that said, the trip to the Miller Farmstead was well worth it. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The farm was settled in 1870 and the house was built around 1908. The farmhouse and outbuildings are an example of the Appalachian lifestyle of subsistence farming in secluded mountains from the early to mid-twentieth century with minimal alterations. The Millers never had a road into their property nor a motorized vehicle. The family lived there until 1962. Did I mention, we brought our lunch and picnicked, while two old bluegrass musicians played all the old timey standards?!! I want to live there!
So, you know how I said, the hike was extremely difficult? Well, think about the length of Nigel’s little legs and imagine how strenuous the hike had to be on him. Then imagine if you can, how said puppy, had the energy to bolt from the RV as soon as we got back from the hike…I started yelling to the neighbors all around us for someone to grab him, because he would go to them, but run from me. Fortunately, Nigel ran to the campsite next to us between their truck and trailer and their grandson was waiting at the other end and scooped him up. Whew! I didn’t have anything left at that point to go chase him. Thank goodness, I didn’t have to.
On Sunday, we packed up and headed to the AT at Carvers Gap on the NC/TN line. It was a short hike through a mossy, fir-filled forest to the first bald, Round Bald, and the beautiful Roan Mountain views. Truly, breathtaking panoramic views. We have now hiked on the AT in TN, GA, and NC. We are working on hiking a section of the trail in every state it passes through. After the short hike, we drove up to the famed Rhododendron Gardens, which was quite a let down. I imagine in June when the Catawba Rhododendrons are blooming, it’s nice…I guess we’re spoiled living in Sapphire, because our yard, neighborhood, and surrounding area are far more dense and plentiful than the sorry paved trail through the famous gardens.
We’ll definitely be returning to Roan Mountain. It is a gorgeous park with fabulous hiking. Want to do more of the AT there next time, but was too sore after Saturday’s 12-miler to do much Sunday. Can’t wait to go back!