Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Blowing Rock & Boone

Since Emma has been keen on nurturing her inner rock hound, Heather decided to take her gem mining Monday morning.  Marion joined in the fun and they returned to the cabin with a bag full of "gems" and a very happy Emma.
After lunch at the cabin, we drove to Howard's Knob County Park (pictured above).  At 4,396 feet, this member of the Appalachian range sits 1,000 feet above the town of Boone and offers expansive views of the city and Appalachian State University.
Leaving Howard on his knoll, we ventured down into town for a visit to the App State campus.  With the fall term set to kick off next week, the campus was abuzz with activity.  As we searched for a new series of five letterboxes near the duck pond and auditorium, our efforts were accompanied by the ASU band's percussion section drumming up some marching rhythms.  After finding all five letterboxes, we returned to Tasker.
A bit of post-boxing relaxation restored us enough to inspire the cooking of broccoli fusilli with sun-dried tomatoes.  And since we had only one more night, we thought we'd better roast some marshmallows tonight in case the rain moved back in on Tuesday. A few games of Appletters later, we were ready for bed.
Tuesday was our last full day in the mountains, and another peak was beckoning.  Rich Mountain, a 4,370-footer that was part of the Moses Cone estate, can be accessed by carriage roads which the textile magnate had constructed on his property.  Now part of the Moses Cone Memorial Park, the mountain offers a trail popular with both hikers and cross-country skiers.
Hiking to Rich Mountain
The hike began at Trout Lake and included a 610-ft. elevation gain on the gently sloping carriage roads.  A picnic lunch at the top to celebrate summiting, and it was all downhill from there.  After a relaxing afternoon at the cabin, we checked out the Foggy Rock cafe in Blowing Rock, finding it much to our liking.  One last trip to Kilwin's and the Blowing Rock town park, a final game of Appleletters, and we called it a day and a wrap for this year's family mountain adventures, startled as always that the week had passed so quickly, and already looking forward to next year.
Kilwin's ice cream + Blowing Rock town park = perfection
Gem mining, another type of treasure hunt

Near the summit of Rich Mountain

Rock scrambling at Howard's Knob
All packed for the trip home