Rocky Face Mountain Labor Day Trip

My family recently had a day that we did not have any specific plans when we woke up, and what started as a day of relaxing at home, soon by afternoon became a day where we knew we had to head out of the apartment. Not knowing where we were heading, the outdoors were calling, so we grabbed up our backpacks, packed the kids in the car, and started driving.

As with many road trips, my wife and sons fell asleep while we were driving, so I pulled over at a gas station and pulled up Google Maps to see what adventure I could find. 

To my surprise, we were 30 minutes from a place I had not heard of before, so I entered it as the destination, and began the road trip there. Off of the main highway I drove, and into the countryside of North Carolina, off to yet another location we had not been to before, and I had no idea what to expect.

When the rest of my family woke up, they said where are we, and where are we headed. I could not remember the name of the place, so I just said, I have no idea. When your on a back road that you have never been to before, and you tell your passenger you have no idea where you are going just after they wake up from a road trip nap, it is not exactly what they would like to hear, so I looked it up quickly and told them we were headed to Rocky Face Mountain.

As many times as it has happened over the years while traveling all over the great outdoors, the moment I look at my mobile phone and see no signal, I find myself once again getting that feeling of owe crap, we are out here in the middle of no where with no cell coverage, but then I always follow that with the thought that it is all part of the adventure. It would not be the first time, we made it to the destination, only to find we can navigate back on Google Maps, and just have to rely on following the map to find our way out. Hey, Google Maps still beats unfolding a huge paper map that takes up half the front seat, even if you don't have cell coverage, and have to follow the map the old fashion way. 

When we pulled into the park, we stopped at what looked like a visitors center, but the park office was closed, so I grabbed a map, and continued on our way to the main recreation area. 

When we pulled around the bend, the view was gorgeous. It was something more like I would envision out west, and as we pulled into the parking lot, it was quickly apparent that we had just drove to a mountain climbing hot spot. There were vehicles parked throughout with multiple climbers getting their gear ready to climb the face of the mountain.

The coolest thing was seeing several vans and campers with climbers who live out of their vans. It reminded me of a great podcast I listen to call The Dirtbag Diaries sponsored by Patagonia. One van had a couple gearing up to climb while their toddler played and ran around. It was sort of a symbol of true freedom. 

We started the adventure on an easy paved path that led to one of the coolest kids playgrounds I have ever been to. Tucked back into the mountain side was an area of course sand, a few hammocks, a zipline, and a fiberglass slide that was accessible by climbing the rock boulders to the top of the hill. 

Once we finished that loop, we headed off to one of the hiking trails, and set out on a short adventure. We did not have a lot of time today, so we did not go as deep in as we would have like, but it definitely gives us plenty of reason to go back to this amazing spot to enjoy hiking. There is an overlook that we will certainly climb to next visit. 

Our family is always looking for adventure. Today was definitely a great adventure, and no exception when it comes to beautiful scenery.