Have you ever had that thought deep in sleep that you forgot to set your alarm and somehow you are able to wake yourself from deep sleep? I bolted out of bed, knowing that I had accidentally set my alarm for 4:30 pm, not am! Fortunately it was only 4:15 and I had plenty of time to pack for my Boone adventure.
I slipped silently downstairs to get my things ready. Shoes-check, compression socks-check, hydration pack-check, snacks, sunscreen, water, and clothes…check, check, check. I was buzzing with excitement and nervousness. I am never over-prepared, I like to wing it sometimes when it comes to trying out new trails. I had been to Boone and Grandfather Mountain countless times, so I know the area, and its populated enough that you really can’t get too lost.
My ride came right on time, but with a little bad news. He was in a rush and had stubbed his toe moments before. “I think I broke it,” he said. I cringed a bit..”oh no, we don’t have to go…” He insisted it wasn’t bad and we took off, heading west to where the land starts to become mountainous. 3 hours later we pulled into the Julian Price Park parking lot. Ben tested his toe, while I tried to guess between some written notes I had from a friend, and my phone map where the trail began.
After a few minutes he was ready, and I had a good idea which direction to go. I brought with me my Energybits to try out. (full review of them here) I took about 10 and we were off. The Tanawha trail parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway from Julian Price 13 miles to Beacon Heights. The trail leads you through many different ecosystems. Immediately we were ducking our heads dodging low hanging rhododendron branches, it then spit us out into some beautiful open fields. We crossed grassy fields, rocky and rooty sections that seemed to go on endlessly, and some gravel connecting trails…it was quite a nice variety of terrain.
The trail continued steadily uphill, putting us back into forest. We came to the edge of Grandfather Mountain State Park about 6 miles into our run. From there we decided to follow a loop up to Storyteller’s rock, then over to Calloway peak, and then back down the Daniel Boone Scout trail to Tanawha again.
The day was beautiful and it got hot fast. The sun felt so good on my skin, and the breeze at the top of the mountain was so soft. There is something about the mountains that is just so inspiring and relaxing all at the same time. I just feel at peace when I am there.
We stopped a few times to take in the view and to take some pictures..
We eventually ran out of water, but were close enough back to the car that it didn’t cause us to slow much.
If you are ever in the area of Boone, I would highly recommend this set of trails. Its right off the parkway, just a few minutes from downtown, and just beautiful. Total round trip was somewhere between 22-24 miles and the elevation is 5,964.