Music in the Mountains at Roan Mountain State Park
Join me for a quick hike near Roan Mountain, Tennessee after playing in a summer concert series
This summer, I played a show with Playing in the Parks at Roan Mountain State Park for their summer concert series. The forecast was calling for rain, but it turned out to be a beautiful July summer evening, paired with wispy clouds and fireflies twinkling like little spotlights surrounding the stage.
Attendees showed up with lawn chairs, hammocks, bikes, and frisbees, ready to hang out under the setting sun. Some walked over from the campground, some were locals just visiting for the music, but we all had one thing in common: we had a love for live music outside.
After the final chords were played for the evening, I spoke with guests and loaded up our music gear. In my head, I was already excited for the early morning mountain air we'd be experiencing tomorrow. It was time to trade my show boots for my hiking shoes.
The next morning, the team and I headed into the lovely little town of Roan Mountain, slurped down gas station coffees and Subway breakfast sandwiches (my first run-in with Subway breakfast, and might I say, it is some fine adventure fuel), and made our way back through Roan Mountain State Park - the windows down, folky mountain music blasting on the stereo, and a ridiculous giddy grin knowing we were headed for the hills.
We arrived at Carver's Gap - the parking lot already almost full - donned our backpacks, tightened our laces, and hit the trail. The first half-mile is a gradual incline that snakes through an other-worldly rhododendron forest - just enough to get your heart pumping. And then, all of a sudden, you're whisked out of the forest into a panoramic mountain view of peaks and ridges as far as the eye can see (as long as it's a good weather day).
Oh, and did I mention this is part of the Appalachian Trail? I don't know if you're a thru-hiking nerd like me, but something about standing on a patch of dirt that connects all the way from Georgia to Maine leaves me speechless and feeling small in a big beautiful world.
After snapping some pictures from the top of Roan High Bald, you can either turn around and take the trail back the way you came or continue up and down mountain ridges for a sweaty, heavy-breathing kind of workout. We had to get back on the road, so we hiked for a mile or two before heading back to the car. It wasn't the longest hike in the world, but those sweet moments breathing in fresh mountain air are feelings that last a lifetime.
Something about standing on a patch of dirt that connects all the way from Georgia to Maine leaves me speechless and feeling small in a big beautiful world.
If you'd like to visit for yourself, here's the hike on AllTrails. Be sure to check out the lovely amphitheater at Roan Mountain State Park while you're at it! You just might catch some music in the mountains.
Until next time, happy trails, and I'll see you on the road,