Early on the brilliantly clear and sunny Sunday of October 19, 2008, Bob Laney took his new friends from his neighborhood on a hiking trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains. High school aged brothers Dakota and Dalton and Daltonís friend Josh joined Bob in his driveway to pack his canary yellow Xterra. We had some discussions about what to wear and what to take. Dalton and Dakotaís mom had packed plenty of nutritious sandwiches and drinks. Bob decided that we needed more packs, more clothes, more water and less soda. Bob provided another pack and we all trooped over to Mary Bethís kitchen to re-load the provisions.
The night before had provided the first heavy frost of the year. It took awhile to clear the windshield. For the first of our two hikes we headed to Price Park on the Parkway south of Boone. We took the 5 mile loop Boone Fork Trail. It starts in the big picnic area, goes through an old, dried up lake bed and follows the creek several miles down stream. We saw a lot of animal sign and beautiful fall colors along the way. This early on a cold morning there were few other hikers.
After the trail leaves Boone Fork Creek it follows a small feeder creek steeply up a valley to a ridge where it joins the Tanawha Trail, just north of the Parkway. After lunch in the meadow at the top of the climb, we finished the loop trail through the camp ground to the picnic area.
For our second hike, we went a few miles south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Rough Ridge part of the Tanawha Trail. We climbed about a mile or so to the big rocks. At that point we were about two thirds of the way up Grandfather Mountain, with a view to the south for many miles.
While there we took the opportunity to do some rock climbing on the low cliffs. Then we headed down the trail for home. We arrived early enough for the boys to get ready for school tomorrow. Dalton had to get ready for his North Wilkes High School football game the next evening. He is the starting free safety. Good luck in the game!