We spent some time recently hiking at a couple of state parks in North Carolina. Deciding that day trips are our coronacation get-aways, we look for areas that are about a two hour drive from our house. We were in search of fall colors, but as that is a very popular thing to do this time of year, we stayed away from the large, more popular parks. Our experience has been that hardly anyone on hiking trails wears a mask even when passing close to others. And we always visit during the week - I can only imagine how bad it would be on the weekends.
We came upon the first park just by happenstance as we passed a sign for it while getting a carryout meal to eat before the hike. Elk Knob State Park was not one we had heard of, much less visited. Located near Todd, NC, the 4,423-acre park features one of the highest peaks (5,520 feet) in North Carolina's High Country. We drove for miles on a back country road before reaching the entrance to the park. It was blessedly uncrowded, and we quickly ate lunch. We elected to do the Summit Trail, which was listed as 1.9 miles long and moderate to strenuous in intensity. Little did we know that the distance was one way, and mostly at a pretty good incline. The views from the top were very pretty, however, and going back downhill to the car was not bad.
|Elk Knob State Park|
A few days later we drove to Morrow Mountain State Park. This 5,702-acre park is in the Uwharrie Mountains near the town of Albemarle, NC. The peaks of the Uwharrie Mountains average less than 1,000 feet in elevation due to erosion. You can drive to a scenic overlook at the top, but there are also several different hiking trails in the park. At the park ranger's suggestion, we chose the 4.1 mile Fall Mountain Trail as it meandered along the river before heading uphill. There were very few people in this park, which was great.
|Morrow Mountain State Park|
With the pandemic, any type of meaningful vacation is off the table for the foreseeable future. I am thankful that we live in an area where we can at least do these little day trips to take our minds off of politics and the virus.