Another Fall Hike Up Roan Mountain From Carver’s Gap
We Love Hiking In The Fall The Best
Visiting Roan Mountain has become a huge part of our lives. We love hiking in general. The benefits of being outside in nature are immense and we insist upon them. Any day that we finish our homeschool lessons early, we rush to the forest, or the mountains, or the lake. We need nature and we know it.
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We recently took a whole day off from school just to hike for the day. Both of us were feeling burnout and the leaves were on fire, teasing us with their vibrant colors. The sky had turned that perfect October blue. The weather was crisp and cool and perfect. And so we went. Because we had the whole day, we knew Roan Mountain was within easy reach. Let us take you up the mountain with us.
The drive up to Roan Mountain is always gorgeous and this time of the year it is really showing off. It’s a windy road that is cradled between the branches of old trees, towering over us. You need to go slow to enjoy the view but also to be able to spot wildlife on your path. Only moments after taking this picture we came across a fawn standing right in the middle of this very road. She was a doll.
After you drive through the park you just keep going straight towards Carver Gap. Along the way, there are several places to pull off the road and enjoy the views. At one such place, this scene lays before you and behind you, there is crystal clear water trickling down a rock face and creating the most relaxing sound you can imagine. It’s bliss up there.
Once you arrive, you take a short trail that sends you into a beautiful little forest. On the other side of that forest lies this view, pointing the way towards the Balds.
As T and I climbed ever higher, the sky grew darker and threatened to rain on us. We didn’t care in the least. The temperatures are always cooler up there but the smell of the air is invigorating and the views are worth traveling through any storm. We carried on.
The trees on Roan Mountain enchant me. I love the ones like this one here, that stand there all naked and powerful and seem most at home during the dark days of Fall and winter. And I do have a favorite tree…
Here she stands! I LOVE this tree. Here is what I had to say about it on Instagram.
This tree is my most recent photographic obsession. You can’t really see all that it has to offer here. So let me tell you more about it… First of all, it is growing on a hill and it is also bowing down as though it wants to lay upon the earth that nourishes it. It is made up of long knobby arms with gnarly curved claw fingers that reach in every single direction. It lives at almost 5000 feet above sea level. It’s bark is covered in a dry layer of aged moss or maybe lichen. It wears it like a second skin. Below it, there is this grass that also reminds one of skeleton hands that reaches up toward this mighty mass of trunk and branches and personality. And all around it, 360 degrees of towering mountains surround it. The wind does not phase it as it does the other trees. It stands there firmly, unmoved by the weather or those passing by. It just reaches, in every direction. All arms and claws, and dark and lonely beauty! I adore it!
And just in case you wanted to admire her from another angle…
With Spring and Summer behind us, I inevitably become again enchanted with the grasses that march across the rough terrain. Some of them could put even the loveliest bloom to shame. Gorgeous!
After T emerged from a great stand of laurel’s we decided to stop here and rest. We took turns guessing which mountain of the many before us was Cold Mountain. We talked about the book. And then the clouds grew thick over us again and the faintest drizzle fell from them. By the time it reached us, it was more a mist. We hurried along.
The colors of Roan Mountain this week were just before peak season. We missed it by maybe three or four days. But we have learned our lesson twice before. The forecast has been calling for four days of heavy rain and high winds. It’s likely that by the time peak arrives, the leaves will have been torn from their branches and faded to rust.
As we headed back down we stopped here at Newt Rock (T named it that after discovering an adorable Eastern Newt below it a few years ago- you can see him here.) We sat in silence thinking of everything that had happened since our Fall Hike the year before. A lot had changed but the most important things remained the same. T and I then took a moment to look ahead and imagine what might be different when next years Fall Hike rolls around. He will have his drivers license by then and his freshman year of homeschool will be behind him. He will have had a chance to have his first summer job.
We may choose to do our First Hike up on Roan Mountain again this year and we may choose another place, depending on the weather. But one thing we can always count on, next Fall we will find ourselves standing on Roan Mountain again, feeling blessed and grateful for each other, and the beauty of this wonderful world!
Details on Roan Mountain:
About the State Park: Located on TN Hwy 143 at the base of the majestic 6,285 Roan Mountain, Roan Mountain State Park encompasses more than 2,000 acres dominated by rich hardwood forest along rugged ridges. The cool, clear Doe River winds its way through the center of the park and supports a healthy population of trout. Wildflowers and wildlife inhabit the hollows and ridges of the Roan foothills in abundance.
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