Experimental music, photography, and adventures

5. Charlotte; 6. Chestnut Knob (South Mountains State Park)

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the things we did on our vacation, and find time to write about them. It’s just so overwhelming.

Friday evening, we arrived in Charlotte and went to dinner with my friends from college, Michael and Laurel. He is now an attorney, and she works for the Opera. We went to a Persian/Turkish restaurant and had a delicious meal. After that, we went back to Laurel’s apartment, had some drinks, and caught up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives. Sarah had never met Laurel before, and they seemed to hit it off pretty well. Among other things, we simply had to try some carbonated wine in pink cans with straws that Laurel had found somewhere. This brilliant product was apparently created by Sofia Coppola.

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A toast to the manliest drink of all time.

After being up probably far too late, we went to Michael’s apartment (which is within walking distance) to crash. We got up the next day and got some breakfast. Michael took us by the house he’s having built, and it’s obviously going to be very nice. It was cool to see it as a work in progress.

After we ate some breakfast, we headed toward South Mountains State Park for a hike. Sarah and I were a little underprepared, as we were expecting to do a fairly easy hike. Instead, we ended up hiking the Chestnut Knob trail, which ended up being the second-hardest hike on our entire trip. It’s not a terribly long hike, about two miles each way, but it’s steep most of the way and goes right up the side of the mountain. It didn’t help that it was very hot, in at least the mid-90s.

Also, Michael has always been one to walk fast, and they took off at quite an impressive pace. A little too impressive, as we didn’t feel we could sustain that pace, and prefer taking our time anyway. So, we slowed down and told them they could go ahead if they wanted to. They were cool about it, though, and slowed down to stick with us.

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Me, on the way up / The trail had a lot of wooden steps

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The first overlook on the trail

We reached one overlook and were probably halfway there at this point. Sarah wasn’t sure she could make it, but some encouraging words from me seemed to help a little bit. We got to what seemed to be the end of the trail, where there was supposed to be another overlook, but there wasn’t one. However, there was a hiker icon on a sign, so I figured we ought to continue on that section of trail. It went sharply down a rocky area for a ways, but we followed it to a rocky area you could climb out on for panoramic views. It was fantastic.

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Panoramic view from the overlook (worth viewing large)

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Sarah and me
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Never had I felt cooler than this, standing on a high rock, looking down on some other mountain ranges

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Part of the trail on the way back

It was a fantastic hike — more strenuous than we expected, and we should have brought more water and other supplies. However, it was manageable once we slowed down. I was really glad that we got to go hiking with Michael and Laurel, as it was very different from how I had interacted with them back in college. It was also a good introduction to the hiking we’d do on the rest of the trip.

3 Responses to “5. Charlotte; 6. Chestnut Knob (South Mountains State Park)”

  1. Revrunner Says:

    Reminds me of a trail my wife hiked with a friend this past June in the Black Mountains of North Carolina where she literally had to climb on all fours part of the way to the top. A true rock scramble! Meanwhile, I was down below climbing hills with my bike.

  2. Jett Says:

    I’m glad you’re getting these shots posted. I had been looking forward to seeing where you guys had been.

    The panorama really does help you feel like you’re actually there and viewing full-size is recommended.

    Looking forward to more.

  3. Marty Says:

    Looks like a nice trip – sorry it took me so long to get here and read about it.

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