Can Your Dog Climb A Tree? Elk Knob State Park – Our Last Hike of 2018

Well, another year has come and gone. It was truly a good year for us. We are the kind of people who try to make the best of everything and we feel we made the most of 2018. With just 24 hours left before 2019 started we left our home in our Travato van in search of adventure… just like we always do.

A short drive up 421 and we were winding through the mountain roads of Watauga county heading for Elk Knob State Park for the very first time. We got there just in the nick of time, with just a little over 90 minutes of daylight left, and only a few short minutes of non-freezing weather left. We underestimated, as usual, the amount of time it would take to drive those curvy mountain roads, and we definitely underestimated the coldness of the dropping temperature at 5500 feet up. Whew!! It got chilly in a HURRY!

So we parked quickly and started the decent up to the summit, knowing all along that we’d never make it. The sun was setting over neighboring mountains when we were asking each other that very question. This trail to the summit is very well maintained, made of gravel and marked with sign posts every quarter of a mile, making it easy to tell how much further and know for sure after just 1/4 of a mile of hiking up the mountain that we were not going to make it! But we tried and made it 3/4 of a mile of the 2 mile hike to the summit before the sun completely set over the next mountain, dropping the temperature and bringing on dusk in a hurry. So we turned around and headed back. While we were hiking down Lynn brought up the fact that every tree is so different and so “alive” and is such a treasure, but most just walk right by them not noticing. This poem came to mind:

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Luckily, we made it back to the van just before dark. The drive back down the mountain was even prettier than the drive up, with mountain streams, cabins and Christmas light decorations along the road. When we reached 421 we turned right instead of turning left back towards home so we could eat at one of our long-time favorite places in Boone, Peppers. Then it was just a drive in the dark back home to rest up after that big meal and strenuous hike up the mountain.

Now that you’ve read about our adventure, you can watch the episode here:

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