Hanging Rock (2579')

This past year I took a lot of risks. I got laid off like so many others. But, instead of sitting on unemployment and waiting for my old position to return, I decided I wanted something new. I spent the better part of everyday teaching myself web development. Though I was successful, a career change also means starting at the bottom. While taking on the reduced wages was a bit of a blow to my self confidence, I took it in stride. I asked my sister if I could live with her for  a short time while I gain a foothold. First though, since my new job is remote to start, I headed for the east coast to explore a new place and see my girlfriend.

She knows I love the outdoors, but, she also told me before I came that this place was not going to satisfy my need. I often yearn for tall peaks, tough scrambles and long walks in the wood. After my arrival she said I would enjoy a trip up hanging rock, a famous nearby hike to Raleigh, NC.

The trail for this peak starts from a huge parking lot, which to my surprise was not even full on a sunny day at 9 am. Compared to Washington's often very busy trail head's the sight was a welcome one. There were quite a few people on the trail, but, everyone was well spread out. From the start the scenery is wonderful. Tall stands of trees dominate the trail and small creeks run below it off and on. It is a little unfortunate that this time of year the trees had no leaves, but, they still had a sublime beauty to them. The first mile or so of the trail is paved and an easy walk.

The second half of the trail is where things get more interesting. Though I felt surprise to see stairs leading up a hill,  the path finally had more of an outdoors feel to it.  As the views opened up I began to feel that sense of calm I always get when I am high above everything. Best of all, along the route there are multiple rocks that provided some nice little scramble practice. Lima looked on as I enjoyed them, cautioning all along.

The summit of hanging rock is quite a joy. There are several spots where the rock juts out and creates an air of mystery and risk that doesn't actually exist. Though the feeling that you are hanging over the edge fo a cliff on a rock suspended hundreds of feet in the air is worth the short trip. My favorite part of hanging rock was walking out on one of the ledges. It is only a couple of feet wide and finally I felt that pang of risk that I seem to adore.

After coming back down form the top of hanging rock, I was still jazzed and ready to go. After all it is barely a mile and only a few hundred feet of elevation gain. So once back to theparking lot we headed over for the Indian creek trail. Along it there are two waterfalls that were both a joy to view.

While nothing like what I am used too, I can see the allure for the people of the area. The view is beautiful and the hike straightforward.