On Saturday, the Mr. and I joined some fellow hiking friends to tackle our first ever Appalachian Trail venture. We began our day at Highway 19E, or just plain 19E as the locals know it, en route for Hump Mountain.
The beginning ascent was a very long, uneventful, trek through the forest. There are a few rock overhangs and ledges to explore, a cute little set of stairs, and an interesting array of plants, mushrooms, and flowers native to our area.
When we reached Doll Flats, we seized the opportunity rest our feet and refuel our bodies atop a huge boulder at the camp sight. (Also a perfect opportunity to take a tinkle in Tennessee.)
After crossing the grassy ridge, we headed back into the shaded forest. This section was a little more difficult to traverse, as the trail is very narrow and covered in slippery rocks and boulders, that sometimes took some fancy footwork to cross.
Once you reach the end of the forest and enter the wide open, grassy Houston Ridge, there are no words to describe the beauty. It was a perfect clear day and the remainder of the hike to the summit offered a full 360 degree view of the mountainous surroundings. (I can probably count on both of my hands and feet the number of times I tripped trying to hike and look around at the same time.)
Once we reached the top, we plopped down on a nearby rock with a Little Hump Mountain view to eat, to take a nap, to laugh at other hikers passing gas, to enjoy the sun and the breeze. After we felt rested and ready to hike, we began making the trip back down to 19E, saving Little Hump Mountain for another sunny day.
How To Get There:
From Boone, take Hwy 105 heading towards Banner Elk. Turn right onto Hwy 184 N. At the last stop light, turn left onto Hwy 194 S. Continue traveling on this road until you reach Hwy 19 E and turn right. After you cross over into Tennessee, be on the lookout for signs pointing to the Appalachian Trail. We parked on the side of the road just before Bear Branch Road on the right. Cross over the main road to find the trail and begin your journey to Hump Mountain.
(This post was originally published on our sticks or stones blog, which is no longer in publication.)