May 14, 2017
Since my last posting, my family and I have undergone quite a change. For years we lived in Sylva, N.C., about an hour west of Asheville. A great job opportunity became available in Boone, N.C. and after long hours of talk, we decided to move three hours north. We found a wondrous mountaintop farm in Avery County, just minutes from the Tennessee border. Every morning we wake up and see a new, awe-inspiring view from our house, a restored cabin from the 1850’s.
An added bonus of moving is opening up a new world of hiking to my family. This past Sunday we ventured to Elk Knob State Park in Todd, N.C. Opened in 2003, it is considered one of the newest parks in the state. “Elk Knob was considered for a housing development during the late 1990s and early 2000s, until a group of concerned citizens, land owners, and the Nature Conservancy worked together to purchase the mountain. In 2003, it was deeded to the State of North Carolina, under the management of the Division of Parks and Recreation. Elk Knob State Park helps to protect the headwaters of the North Fork of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world.” *
As a new park, there are still relatively few trails. The summit trail is the most popular and trafficked. Emily, Ramona, Alice and I set off from the trailhead and the wind was blowing steadily and it was a comfortable mid 50’s. The trail is uphill the entire 1.9 miles, but it is gradual. The staff of Elk Knob did a wonderful job with the trail grooming and switchbacks.
Alice is not even two years old, but unfortunately she has inherited my stubbornness. She refused to be carried the first mile. And in reality it was delightful. She stopped at so many plants, pointing at them, exclaiming excitement. Stopping to pick up stones and hand them to me.
Throughout the hike, the early signs of spring are just hitting this section of the high country: red and white trillium carpeted the forest, ferns began to unfurl, and high grass began to flourish.
The summit has two views. The north view shows Virginia and even Mt. Rogers. The south view was breathtaking: in one panorama you can see Grandfather Mountain, the Smoky’s and the Roan Mountains.
I strongly encourage families in the high country and Boone to hike this trail, it’s spectacular.
Total mileage is 3.95 miles.