"So, where to next on your trip?"
"Oh, well from here I'm heading down to Greensboro, NC on my way to Florida."
"Greensboro, NC? That seems like an odd spot, don't you think?"
This conversation has been had at least five times in the last couple of days. It's likely because it really is an off-the-map spot in terms of the cities I could potentially visit between NYC and Florida. Nonetheless, here I am, and so far it's been a pleasant surprise on my cross country trip.
I left New York the day after Memorial Day, and made the 8 hour drive south through New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and finally into North Carolina. I've never really spent much time in North Carolina, but I've got to say that after a long drive along the eastern Appalachians, I can say that this part of the country is really picturesque. If you ever get a chance to drive through the area, definitely take your time.
I planned to stop in Greensboro for just a night, but ultimately ended up staying two. The initial reason to pass through this seemingly out-of-the-way city was because my friend from school lives in the area and it's halfway between Palm Beach, FL (my ultimate destination for this weekend) and New York. My time in Greensboro ended up being much more than I expected.
We awoke on Wednesday morning and decided to get in a little hiking during the day before heading to a AAA baseball game in the afternoon. I didn't realize that North Carolina had such good hiking before experiencing it, and I'll definitely come back again.
My friend and I decided to head up north of Greensboro to the Hanging Rocks State Park, a relatively well known hiking area in the region known for it's jagged peak, Hanging Rock. After about an hour-and-a-half drive along twisted roads and through small, North Carolina towns, we arrived at the base of the hike.
The hike itself was quite simple, technically speaking, and much to my surprise this southeastern Appalachia peak gave way to some of the mind numbing views I've seen in the U.S. Hanging Rocks is actually a series of open rock faced peaks, each giving a different perspective of the North Carolina wilderness below.
After we hiked down the trail and back to the car, we made our way down another trail leading to a couple of waterfalls buried in the woods. Again, these waterfalls were quite a surprise to me as the last place I've been that had waterfalls like this was the Belizean rainforest. Not bad for the eastern U.S. Being that it is May, the water was quite obviously very cold, hitting my head and immediately taking my breath away. It was, nonetheless, a pleasant surprise in what I fully expected to be a potential letdown.
After getting back into Greensboro, my friend and I headed out to a Greensboro Grasshoppers game, a AAA MLB feeder team for the Miami Marlins. This game reminded me of the Madison Mallards games I went to back during my time in Madison, and it brought back fond memories of summers spent at the stadium. There's not much out there that can been a nice summer day at a baseball game with friends.
All-in-all, Greensboro was a great pit stop on my way south. I saw a relatively untouched part of the country and found a place which I will definitely be coming back to for some additional hiking and camping in the future. Today I'm making the 9-hour trek down to south Florida where I'll spend the weekend with an old friend from high school. Wish me luck along the drive.