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A short but wonderful weekend road trip to Hanging Rock State Park and Carowinds amusement park.
I decided to go on a road trip over a month ago when I realized I hadn’t actually hung out with my best roommate, Dan, on such an adventure. Hanging Rock State Park has always been on my bucket list, and I was thrilled to discover that Charlotte Carowinds is also within a reasonable driving distance, as I’m a big fan of roller coasters and all the excitement they offer.
As it turns out, this week is the perfect time for me to escape from the lonely work environment, where hardly anyone works with me, and enjoy a relaxing road trip.
Day 1: Hanging Rock State Park
It’s great to have a car again, even if it’s a rental. I picked up the car the night before and set off at 7 AM in the morning to pick up my roommate Dan and his girlfriend. It was a joyful one-and-a-half-hour drive to the park while listening to a mix of Christian music and K-pop.
Upper Cascades Falls and Rock Garden Trail
This trail is a joke. We decided to start with something light, but it turned out to be too easy. The path leading to the waterfall was pleasant, with small storyboards along the way, which I think are meant for kids. We reached the waterfall quickly, and while it was decent, it wasn’t very impressive. One reason could be that we didn’t exert much effort to get here, so we couldn’t fully appreciate the falls. We attempted to go down the waterfall, but it was too wet, and we were also surrounded by countless mosquitoes.
Hanging Rock Trail
Then we hit to the hard-core offical trail. It should be one of the most popular trail in the area as it has the name of the park where we did get a chance to see the hanging rock.
Probably only one thrid of the trail done, I told my firends we are almost there. It turned out there are many many more almost there to do. The climbing phrase was quite strenous with very high elevation gain. But when we reached the top, everything is worth it. There were much more to see besides the hanging rock. To be honest, many rocks were much better than the hanging rock.
This time I feel very brave and somehow not that afraid of the height. So I tried to jump on this awesome rock and sit down.
It’s also a great photo, but when you think about how it was taken, it becomes even greater. I was talking to a braver guy who was on the cliff, and I asked, “Do you want a photo from there?” He replied, “Sure, why not? Do you also want one?” I said, “Yeah, that would be great!”
I feel a sense of closeness to nature when I step to the edge of the cliff, and in the tranquility of the surroundings, I can even feel my own heartbeat.
Moores Knob Trail
This is the most strenuous trail, but it offers the most astonishing view where you can enjoy a panorama of the entire area, including Pilot Mountain as shown in the photo. However, it is also a very challenging route, as it took us almost 3 hours to complete the entire trail round trip.
Hidden and Window Falls via Indian Creek Trail
This was our last trail, and we clearly didn’t realize how tired our legs were before embarking on it. Since the trail led to waterfalls, it consistently descended, meaning the return journey involved constant uphill climbing. The waterfalls were more impressive than the first one we visited, but we were too exhausted to fully appreciate their beauty. However, sitting on a random rock and listening to the continuous yet varied sound of the waterfall was truly enjoyable. As I climbed back up, I could feel my legs burning. All in all, it was a satisfying final workout before heading to Charlotte for a delightful dinner.
Day 2: Charlotte Carowinds
Roller coaster rides
I remember when I was a kid, I used to be extremely scared of roller coasters. Every time, it was my parents or someone else who would force me to go on the ride. I even experienced mouth inflammation right after one particularly fast ride. However, as I grew up, I no longer felt scared on roller coasters but instead started to enjoy the thrill and anticipation of the weightlessness experienced during the ride. That’s why I’m here, trying to go on as many roller coaster rides as possible.
A fun fact about Carowinds in Charlotte is that it is located across two states, North Carolina and South Carolina. In the photo, you can see me standing with one foot in the north and the other in the south. It’s a unique experience to straddle the border between two states while enjoying the park.
It’s also great to see my roommate Dan from being afraid of the rides to take all the challenges.
One ride that I would never do again is the wooden roller coaster. When I was on the ride, the car was incredibly bumpy, to the point where I felt a discomfort in my brain and thought that some liquids might even come out.
Haas F1 Team Headquater!
On the way back, I happened to discover that the F1 Haas headquarters were located along the exact route. We didn’t even need to make a detour, so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, the entire office was closed because it was Sunday, but the moment I saw the Haas logo on the building, excitement surged through me and I felt a rush of enthusiasm.