(I can’t tell if that’s a look of misery or bliss on Sadie’s face. Let’s go with awkward bliss, mmmkay?)
Sunday’s hiking adventures took us all the way to the Appalachian Trail! Ryan previously did some hiking with two of his friends on the Appalachian Trail and spent some time hiking on the trail close to Carvers Gap. We decided to park in the lot at the base of the trail and complete an out-and-back two-hour hike late Sunday afternoon.
We are hoping to hike Roan Mountain in the future, but for Sunday’s hike, we followed the trail in the opposite direction and hiked The Balds, a series of treeless mountaintops that offer expansive panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains.
I went into this hike with no expectations and was blown away. Truthfully, I started the hike feeling cranky after spending longer than anticipated in the car, but my mood quickly shifted once we started moving. It’s amazing what fresh air and a little exercise can do.
The first part of our hike took us through a dense forest that ended up being the only shaded area of the trail.
Fortunately we didn’t miss the shade one bit once we got to the top of The Balds since the air was nearly 20 degrees cooler at the top of the mountains than it was in the city of Charlotte.
In less than 10 minutes, we reached the top of Round Bald and were rewarded with one heck of a view.
Hiking high fives for Sadie!
As we kept hiking and made our way up and down Jane Bald, we stopped numerous times because the views were too pretty to only give a passing glance.
The following picture is my favorite from the day:
Ryan hopped up on that rock for a better view and naturally Sadie, his faithful steed, had to join him. We dubbed her our little mountain goat on this hike! She makes it up rocks in a flash and her agility is quite impressive and fun to watch.
As the hike continued, we followed the Appalachian Trail and came upon a few sections with flowing water that was small enough to hop over without any issues.
This may seem trivial, but one of the most memorable parts of the hike for me occurred when I was hit with the intense smell of Christmas trees!
I looked up and realized I was surrounded by two incredibly fragrant trees and deeply inhaled the fresh scent as we continued hiking. Christmas in July!
On our hike back, we retraced our steps but something caught our eye this time that somehow went unnoticed on the first half of our hike.
Huckleberries! Ryan and I mistook them for tiny blueberries at first, but a passing hiker told us their proper name and we enjoyed a bunch fresh from the bush. Apparently the fresh huckleberries are well-known to hikers in this area because we saw some kids along the trail with small bags full of them.
After two hours, we arrived back at the car and Sadie just about fell asleep sitting up on the car ride home.
I’d say that means this hike was a good one!
Mary Beth Richardson says
My husband and I explored this area on our honeymoon! It’s beautiful! But it does take a long time to drive up a short distance, I noticed!
We went for a hike near our home last week (west Michigan). My husband spent the entire time talking about the trails when he was a kid – they used to sled over there, and build forts over there … and then the wild blueberries! YUM! There’s nothing better than an afternoon with your favorite “friend” (aka- the hubbs) with beautiful views, delicious blueberries and steep inclines! 🙂
Love your stories!
Annette Perkins (@FitnessPerks) says
Wow, that is really pretty!
I love huckleberries. Mmmmm!
So when are we going hiking? That is gorgeous!
Kaylyn Kruse says
Sadie is so dang cute!! Also, I LOVE your sunglasses- where are they from? Adorable.
Nordstrom Rack but they’re made by Kenneth Cole 🙂
Mia @ MakeMeUpMia says
So fun! I wish we had pretty areas like this around us here in Oklahoma. I need to do some research. I definitely say that’s bliss on her face 😉 That last pic of her is hilarious!
Sarah @ Sweet Miles says
So fun!!! Love that Sadie hell asleep, hilarious!!! Side note – my grandfather has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail 🙂
Sarah @ Sweet Miles says
***FELL asleep, not hell. Long day!
That is so amazing! That’s one of Ryan’s life goals. 🙂
Tamara @ Lively Happenings says
So beautiful!!! And not a lot beats fresh huckleberries on a hike!
Ashley N. says
What beautiful views! I hope one day I can live in a place where scenery is like that! I have never been on a hike but would love to but do you wear certain shoes? And is just bug spray enough? haha
I have a pair of Columbia trail shoes but I left them in Ocala and I’ve been kicking myself!! I’ve just been wearing regular gym shoes but definitely think a more supportive shoe with better traction would make a difference. In Florida I definitely used bug spray but fortunately haven’t needed it here. I just make sure to bring lots of water and snacks for longer hikes (granola bars and trail mix are favorites).
Polly - TastyFoodProject.com says
What a beautiful hike! I need to squeeze some hiking into my calendar before summer ends!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries says
Wow, wow, wow! Just gorgeous! And the added fresh huckleberries along the way is a total bonus! Yum!
Do you have any suggestions of hiking trails in the Chicagoland area? The pictures are beautiful!
I loooooove these pictures- what beautiful views!! You make me want to go hiking!!
Julie these pictures are just beautiful. I, too, have recently gotten into hiking. I live in GA and a small group of us camped in Fall Creek Falls, TN. The hiking out there is INCREDIBLE! If you like beautiful scenery and tons of waterfalls, you should go check it out. Also, I have heard of Grandfather Mtn and Chimney Rock in North Carolina. They are on my hiking bucket list!! Thoroughly enjoy your hiking posts 🙂 Happy Trails 🙂
Michelle Hunt (@PeachyPalate) says
Looks stunning! I keep saying…”next weekend I’ll find time for a hike”…I’m writing it down and making myself head out before work this coming Sunday! #inspired
Doggy Question – Do you guys leave Sadie on a leash when you hike with her? My dog LOVES to explore and as lovely as he is (read: crazy man!!!!), I’d be a little nervous taking him on a trail and letting him go off leash (bears, cliffs, other hikers etc). Is Sadie pretty good about staying by you guys (clearly mine is not that well trained lol)?
Vizslas, by nature, seem to stay really close to their owners (their nickname is “Velcro dog”) so we feel pretty comfortable letting her off leash at times. We do keep her on leash in public areas and around other hikers/dogs though.
The pictures of the mountains are breathtaking, but cute animal pictures make me melt;) The last picture of Sadie cracks me up! She looks so tuckered:) haha
mary @ minutes per mile says
gorgeous! i was also hiking in NC this weekend — on the famous mountain-to-sea trail. we headed to the part that runs near asheville. gorgeous views!
Aww Sadie is so beautiful. Loving the pictures. 🙂 It’s great that you can get out and enjoy the local area.
Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona says
I live close to the rocky mountains and I totally agree. Sometimes you need to stop to take in the view and all the beauty. It’s too pretty to walk right by.
I hiked the Appalachian Trail out of North Carolina when I went on a hiking/rockclimbing trip in high school, and I’ll always remember how beautiful it was. So great you have that area in your backyard now!
Laura @ She Eats Well says
What a gorgeous, lush hike! Weekend hikes are the best. Love that you guys found those huckleberries!
I didn’t even know a Huckleberry was a real berry until my Grama got home from visiting her sister in Montana last week. Apparently they are in quite high demand there and an average sized jar of fresh homemade Huckleberry jam will run you about $20!! My poor Grama bought some and had it confiscated by the TSA on her way home! Her brother in law is going to send some more home here to Colorado so we can all try it. I hear that my Aunt makes a darn delicious Huckleberry pie, and there is even syrup for your pancakes, which I would love to try.
Huckleberries are sooooo good! I haven’t had any since being home (Montana). PS: They make a bomb pie 🙂
I love to see pics of Sadie and all of the places that you take her. My husband and I are getting a Vizsla in a few weeks! I am trying to prepare myself for all of its energy.
You will fall so in love with your pup!! Please email me pics!!! 🙂
Kaella (KaellaOnTheRun) says
Wow, another awesome post with amazing photos!! I love living vicariously through your adventures 😉
Andrea H. says
You’re so close to me! I take for granted how beautiful it is around here. I need to do some hiking!
Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy says
Wow, beautiful place! Was this place far or near home?
Pretty far! It was a little more than 2 hours away.
Healthy Regards, Hayley says
So fun! Love the pictures of you and Sadie, I need to get me a hiking dog asap. Hope your having a wonderful Monday!
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse says
This place seriously looks amazing! I keep telling my husband that he needs to apply for grad schools near your area because it is so pretty!
Amy @ Run with Perseverance says
Love the Appalachian Trail! I’m from Virginia and grew up hiking in that area. So fun! Make sure you pronounce it App-uh-latch-in so that you fit in with the North Carolinians 😉
So pretty! I love North Carolina!
Sarcastically Katie says
I am so jealous of all the wonderful hiking you guys have nearby now! It reminds me of when I visited my Aunt in Virginia, I fell in love with all the mountains around her house. I’m moving to AZ this month actually and the thing that excited me the most is being near to the mountains again!
We were there last summer — loved it, one of my favorite hikes to date! The view was so amazing!
Such beautiful scenery. I love going for long walks over here in England, but we don’t have the heights for views like you do.
Hikes are so much fun! Also, Sadie is thee cutest dog!!
Julie @ Running in a Skirt says
I need to do this hike- I can’t belive I haven’t done it yet! Thanks for sharing the pictures.
Wow, this is beautiful!! Quesiton–what is your husband’s workout routine? He is ripped! I’d love for him to do a guest post about his workouts and what he eats. My husband is trying to bulk up and would love some advice, even though he’d NEVER admit to reading a fitness blog 🙂 Can you share briefly what his routine is? I know you don’t go to the gym together all the time, but just like cardio XYZ days, weights XYZ, etc… and then like a brief outline of what he eats? Thanks!
I just hiked this area a couple of weeks ago! One of my favorite parts was the Christmas tree smell too 🙂
Kelly @ The Fit Skool says
this looks amazing! I am jealous that you are finding so many outdoor adventures near your new hometown! Sadie looks like she had a blast 🙂
Sadie just cracks me up …..
Marilyn @ The Salonniere's Apartments says
I’m laughing over how you managed to tire Sadie out with all that hiking! Those pics are amazing – thanks for sharing all your hiking experiences! You make me really want to go hiking now! 😀 now if only I can convince my boyfriend he should definitely go hiking with me – he doesn’t even like going for walks!
Holly Hicks says
I live in East TN and this is in our backyard!I actually got engaged on the balds. You need to come back and hike in the fall!
What are those yellow and orange sneakers your wearing? I love the colors!
New Balance 1400s!
Schick Shadel says
This hike looks amazing!