17 July 2012

Hiking Exclamation Point at Chimney Rock

While on vacation visiting extended family in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we hiked a few trails, including three trails at Chimney Rock.

  We started with The Outcroppings moderate to strenuous trail that involved taking a network of stairs and boardwalks (approximately 615 steps).  We looked out over Lake Lure and enjoyed the stunning scenery; we were not at “the rock” (elevation 2280) long before my eleven year old son started asking about the next trail to Exclamation Point.  My younger son and husband decided they did not wish to continue hiking up; they were saving their energy for the Hickory Nut Falls Trail to see the waterfall. Thinking it couldn’t require much energy to hike another couple hundred feet up, I quickly told the eleven year old that I would make the hike with him while the other two family members rested at the Sky Lounge.

Ascending stairways we were surprised by the switchbacks but observed interesting geological formations and noticed we encountered fewer people (good thing since the path was narrow now) than we had on our previous climb with the family.  Up, up, up we climbed with my eleven year old in the lead turning and stopping often to offer words of encouragement that we were “almost there.”  That’s the tricky thing about this switchback climb—we thought we were almost there the whole time. I began to ponder the name Exclamation Point and the fact that I should have known the hike would be steep, with such a name.