14 October 2010

Boone, NC/Grandfather Mountain/Profile Trail

One of my best girlfriends, Jen, moved to Boone, North Carolina after graduating from UCF in Orlando.  We had known each other for years in Orlando but never became close until I ended up living with her and some other wonderful chicka-dees for a few months.  Jen is awesome through and through and she showed us the most amazing time in Boone.  She's living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her Australian Cattle Dog, Djinni (also awesome).  I immediately fell in love with the town and felt that I could be very happy living there at some point.  The community is extremely friendly and close-knit: everywhere we went, Jen knew someone, or we saw someone that we had already met at some point in our stay.  Case in point: we went into town before meeting up with Jen and met a fellow traveler named Wes.  Wes told us he's been travelling on foot and by train for six years, and is finally going to settle down in Boone for a while.  That night, Jen took us to a potluck on a road called Iris Lane ... and guess who we ran into?

Wes!  He was standing by the bonfire and gave us a bunch of tips on traveling.  It's smucking wonderful to see how interconnected community can be.  Of course we ran into him again -- why was I even surprised?  Everything comes full circle. :)

Jen has a huge, beautiful yard, with apple & pear trees, along with grape vines.  We spent an afternoon picking apples and pears (later turned into apple pie), while Djinni played in the yard.  

Djinni: could be a cover model for Australian Cattle Dog Magazine.

The fruits of our labor! :)

Jen also took us up to Howard's Knob, a little park that is the highest part of Boone.  Here's Wikipedia's short description of it:  

"Howard's Knob is a mountain located in Boone, NC in Watauga County. According to the US Geological Survey, the mountain's proper name is Howard Knob, but it is known to locals and tourists as Howard's Knob.  Howard's Knob and the surrounding area are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The mountain has an elevation of 4,406 feet (1,343 m) above sea level, and rises nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) above the town of Boone."

We just drove up there and took some pictures.  What a view!

Gus & I

Jen & I

A few days later, Jen took us on a seven mile hike.  We took Profile Trail, up Grandfather Mountain, to Calloway Peak.  I was a little winded, and my feet definitely hurt!  (I am so glad we did this though - after we left Boone, we climbed the highest mountain in the Smokies ... which made me realize how short this little seven mile hike was.)  We took Djinni, and Rosie, a dog belonging to one of Jen's friends.  It's amazing how much energy dogs have.  They basically ran the entire trail, up and down.  It was a bee-yooo-tiful hike, and Calloway Peak is the highest point on Grandfather Mountain.  

Jen starting us out on Profile Trail.

There were plenty of amazing views ....

But then, Profile Trail took us to an overlook called Profile View:

Do you see the profile of the face in the mountain?

There was really beautiful fungi all along the trail and on the trees.

There's a fungus among us!

Finally, we got to Calloway Peak.  It was such an amazing feeling to know that we climbed all the way up there.  I'm an unexperienced hiker, and it was the first mountain I'd climbed.  The view was incredible, the feeling of being up so high was incredible: all in all, a wonderful experience.

At the top!


There was a ladder at the end, but Djinni is awesome, climbed up it, and right to the top with us.

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