Roan Mountain-Fathers Day
Roan Mountain, Tennessee--Father's day was about here, and the family wanted to do something for Father's day, so I decided to take them to a cool place since it was going to be a hot weekend. I knew of one place where it would be cool and the breeze would be blowing all day. So I put together a plan the night before to do some hiking and photography
It was only one more week till the Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival, so I figured the place would be blooming with Rhododendron and would make for some good photos. I was hoping the clouds would be there too so it would make it overcast and not full blown afternoon sun. Nothing worse than full blown afternoon sun to spoil a photo opportunity.
Kim and Steven bought me a Garmin 62s GPS I have been wanting for Father's Dy so I was ready to test it out on our adventure. I got the 24K topo maps and a birds eye view subscription with it, so I was excited to try it out. I was looking at some photos of Roan Mountain that professional photographers had shot to give me an idea where the best vantage point to shoot was. So after scouting it all out, it looked like Carvers Gap to Jane's Bald to Grassy Bald would be the spots we would hike to. Check out the hike if you have a Garmin GPS and want to download the tracks.
We had been to Carvers Gap a few years before as you can see in this trip from 2012. I was wanting to go further that day, but we were having so much fun on Carvers Gap we never went any further. We got up early Sunday morning and hit the road and made it to Roan Mountain by 10:30 am. We geared up and started the hike. Lots of people were there, but it wasn't crowded because the place is so big. We met a lot of nice folks along the trail. Lots of them were hiking the AT(Appalachian Trail), and one was from Dallas TX. He was a young college kid who started his trip in Georgia. We talked to him for awhile and asked a bunch of question to figure out how they resupplied and how much food did he carry, and 20 more questions. Nice kid, answered them all. We saw lots of photographers up there, so I talked to lots of them too.
We stopped near the top at Grassy Bald on a rock to get some carbs into Steven, when all the sudden this little bird came close to us like it wanted fed. We pulled out some nuts and tossed them down and this little bird walked right up to us and grabbed the nuts. The bird would run away quickly and eat it, then fly off to a tree near by. The bird would fly back to another tree closer to us then over to the rock then walk right up to us again. We fed him till he was full. It was pretty cool to get that close to a bird. The hike to the top of Grassy Bald was around 5 miles round trip. One thing we forgot to bring was suntan lotion, so Steven and Kim got burnt. Lesson learned about fair skinned people on long open hikes. We got to the top of Grassy Bald and sat for awhile, and I could tell Steven was thinking of food and eating out, so we headed back to see if we could find a good restaurant to eat at around Banner Elk, NC. We had a nice pizza dinner at Belle's and started to head home thinking our adventure was over....it wasn't.
We started back home, and we made it half way when Kim's truck just died on the road. Thank God (literally), we made it in between 2 gas stations as we rolled around the bend off the main thorough fare. The truck didn't seem like it was getting gas. Sure enough, after a nice kid helped us push the last 3 feet into the parking lot, we tested some things and we couldn't hear the fuel pump clicking (bad news). So now we are 1.5 hours from home, and it's about 9 pm on a Sunday and a holiday at that. The adventure continues. The kid who helped us gave me the phone number of a wrecker service around the corner, so I called them and he wanted $300 to tow it back to our place, but would only let two of us ride with him. We thought it might be better to tow it right around the corner to the Chevrolet dealership and let them fix and come back tomorrow. Problem was I need to get back home tonight because I have things I have to do tomorrow. We thought about spending the night, but the tow truck driver said there was a Yellow Taxi cab company that could drive us back. He gave me the number and I called them. They only wanted $150 to drive us back. Figuring it would cost that much for a hotel, food and cab fare to get to the hotel, we opted to head home. The taxi guy picked us up, and we were home before 11 pm. We were whipped, tired, and sun burned, but we had an adventure none of us will soon forget. Plus it was a great day to spend with the family, and I had a blast shooting some photos, enjoying the perfect weather and spectacular views.