Chimney Rock State Park

posted in: MAGNUS, NORTH CAROLINA, TRAVEL | 0

One of my biggest accomplishments this summer was learning to drive a trailer. I’ve driven one a handful of times, just out of sheer necessity, but never with any confidence. But as I adventure more and more with Teri and my mom, we all three just kept talking about how nice it would be to have a tiny camper; somewhere to come back and crash every night, with locks on the doors. So finally, my mom decided that she would make that dream a reality, and she purchased this little GeoPro 12SRK while I quickly upgraded Magnus to be a competent tow vehicle. And then I set about to learning how to back said camper.

If you’ve never driven a camper or trailer, you might be surprised to find out that the shorter the rig, the harder it is to back. Combined with a short wheel base on Magnus, the Tiny Camper is particularly squirrely. Mom and I practiced hooking and unhooking the camper multiple times to get the hang of how to do it in the right order, and how to ensure that all safety mechanisms were in place. We also both practiced towing and backing until we felt competent enough to set out for our first adventure.

We set out for North Carolina, where I had a weekend photography event in Wagram, NC. We spent the first night camping primitively, but we definitely didn’t eat primitively! I think that the kitchen is my favorite aspect of the tiny camper – we can make real food! We even went extra bougie and bought a tiny instant pot to compliment the stove, griddle and refrigerator. It’s like a super tiny but fully functional kitchenette!

I also love having a comfortable place to come back to edit photo that is out of the sun (hello, screen glare) and it even has a tiny television with antenna so you can hop onto the local channels or watch a DVD while I process photos through Lightroom. My first on-site photography event in the camper was a total success – and lots of my customers loved taking a mini tour of the Tiny Camper after purchasing their photos.

The next morning I woke up with overwhelming nausea and a headache – my worst travel nightmare. Luckily mom had practiced not only driving Magnus and the Tiny Camper, but also knew exactly what to do to hook it up – all I had to do was back it up to the hitch (I definitely have the most practice at this, and Magnus doesn’t have a backup camera). We hit the road to Lake Lure, NC where we were going to spend the rest of the long weekend. We found this cute little campground called Hitching Post and got set up on a quiet back lot complete with a sweet babbling brook and picnic table. The property included nice bathroom facilities and a beautiful little hiking trail along the stream.

Mom and I went for a short hike to get our daily steps in, and I loved all of the signs of spring we spotted. I think the fiddleheads on the ferns were my favorite, but lets be honest, I HATE winter, so Im down for ANY signs of spring!

After our walk, we settled in for another delicious dinner, and rested up for our big plans for the next day – Chimney Rock State Park!

I’ll be honest, I’d never even heard of Chimney Rock until I saw an ad for it on my Social Media. I guess some of that intrusive social media snooping does pay off from time to time (i’ve found some really cute clothes too 😂). I knew as soon as I saw the iconic image of the flag on the rock that I wanted to go!

You park in a lower parking lot, and then ride a bus to the main area of the park where there is a lower gift shop, and elevator to the mid-level (where the flag and the rock are) and another gift shop. Because I am a mischievous child, I did not tell my mom that there was an elevator, instead leading us to the trails.

There are so many cool things about the climb to the top – like little grottos and caves, and even some tunnels through the rock that you climb through. I definitely think that the climb to the top is 90% of the experience…

…but it is a climb. There are stairs, and then stairs, and then some more stairs. And you finally get to the mid-level, where the flag is, and there are more stairs to the rock. I say ‘mid-level’ even though this is where most people will end their journey, but not me! Not us! Not today!

After hanging out on the rock (the very windy, very busy rock) we continued our climb to the highest points of the park via the Skyline and Exclamation Point Trails that hike out to the upper portion of Hickory Nut Falls. It’s a nice hike, but since we were on a pretty tight schedule (to hike and then head back to our campsite, break camp, hook up and head out), I pretty much turned it into a speed hiking excursion. Poor mom 😂 I’m not sure how many times I yelled back “we’re almost there!”

I will say that if I had this trip to do over again (and I will, because I loved the park and will definitely be back), I would probably opt to do the Hickory Nut Falls Trail which takes you to the LOWER section of the falls – it’s probably more picturesque.

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Adventurer / SysAdmin / Photographer

Hello fellow adventurer! I'm Jessica Jones, or just Jess if you'd like. I'm a driver at Jeeptographer.com, primarily with Blue, my 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Rubicon . I'm 36 years young, and I enjoy adventuring to beautiful spots with the primary intent of taking photos. I *love* capturing our natural world.

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