Our spring break trip continued into Kentucky and to Pine Mountain State Resort Park (from here forth known as PMSRP). We had one stop at Kingdom Come State Park before reaching this park but I will write about that once I have photos uploaded.
Driving through Kentucky was pretty remarkable. I have been to Kentucky before but I was much younger and don’t remember much. The backroads all seemed to follow a beautiful mountain stream and wind through little towns. I would have never reached any destination if I had stopped to take photos every time I saw something beautiful.
PMSRP looks like a very fun place. We only stayed one night but while there we played putt putt golf and hiked to Honeymoon Falls. The lodge was very beautiful and the room we had was cozy. I will say that the walls at this lodge are thin. I did not sleep well at this place as someone had a baby who was up often during the night and I was able to hear the crying. Other than that, really nice place. The food at the restaurant was good as well.
Our hike took us to Honeymoon Falls. The trail is very easy and round trip is approximately 3 miles. If you’d like all the minute details you can see my write-up on TheOutbound (in face you should sign-up for the site because it is fantastic – check out my adventures. My son and I had a blast on this trail. There was a really pretty creek to follow, rocks to jump, rocks to climb, logs to cross and, finally, a pretty waterfall.
One of the coolest things we experienced as very cool air coming out of a cave. The opening was very low to the ground. It would have taken a brave soul to try and crawl into it. I imagine it goes deep and connects with the creek which is what provided the cool air. We were warm so it felt really great. The trail was enveloped by rhododendrons and the rocks were green with moss. Everything was so pretty. We spent some time exploring the rock opening around Honeymoon Falls before heading back to the lodge.
We rested, showered, ate dinner and then headed to Chained Rock. That was the suggestion from the front desk for sunset viewing. The overlook is about a 3 mile drive from the lodge. Apparently there is also a trail that takes you to see the actual chained rock. There are differing stories about why the rock is chained. Some say to keep the rocks from crashing down on Pineville and others say it was just a publicity stunt. At the time, I didn’t know there was an actual chain (I think that would have been helpful knowledge from the front desk) or I would have hiked to it. Instead, we hung out and saw a decent sunset. The overlook down into Pineville is also quite outstanding.
We only stayed one night at this park as we had places to go the next day. I would highly recommend it though. Kentucky doesn’t charge for entry into their state parks and so it makes it all the easier to go and experience them.
Over spring break my kids and I ventured out to Southern Virginia for some hiking. Our main goal was to get to The Channels of Virginia. I had read about them on various sites and the photos told me that my kids would love it. After showing them some of the photos I found online they were definitely eager to hike there. I found the best directions on this site. You can visit and find her driving instructions which were perfect.
That morning it was pretty chilly. The temperature was about 38 degrees. We had come prepared with layers and bundled up. We parked on the trail and our car was the only one there. That made me very happy. I was looking forward to some solitude and not having to worry about who we might meet. I had my new SPOT device for checking in with people and leaving GPS locations for safety. Surprisingly though we had phone service. Go figure.
The trail was really nice. It is well-maintained and wide. It is a gradual climb up about 1200 feet (3 miles). There are portions that are more steep than others but there is plenty to see so if you have the time, stop, look around, take photos. The climb won’t seem so bad. For experienced hikers it should be a piece of cake. My son had moments of complaining but he trudged along with his trekking poles and with the use of my hand. I find that holding his hand helps him up the mountains and also slows me down so we go at the same pace. Plus, he’s 10 and it won’t be long before he won’t want to hold my hand anymore.
At every turn there is a view. I would stop sometimes and just gaze out at the mountains or valley. I was pleased to be the only ones on the trail that day. I guess that’s the benefit of going on a Monday. Every few minutes I got the, “Are we there yet?” question and I told my son when he saw the fire tower he would know we were there. Cheers escaped his mouth when he saw it and knew the hard work was over. We saw the sign for The Channels and turned onto that portion of the trail.
On the Spur trail you climb to the top and see the old fire tower and old cabin. I saw a large rock so of course I climbed it. The view was spectacular. The kids are a little afraid of heights but I assured them it was fine so they climbed up too and were equally amazed. The best part about hiking with my kids and witnessing their love of nature.
After we explored the fire tower area we went back to see about exploring The Channels. All of the photos show people down under the rocks. They were amazing. We attempted to get down in two different areas but they both lead to dead ends. I found a way to get to the top of the rocks so we hung out there and had some lunch. I tried to rock hop a bit and see if I could find a way down but all of the drops were pretty far. My kids were a bit scared of me doing that and I didn’t want to worry them too much so I sat with them. The wind had died down a bit and it was almost warm up there on the rocks. My daughter said, “All of SnapChat is at the beach but I’m here and I get to see this! Their spring break sucks!” That made me so proud. I’m so glad she was happier on top of a mountain, cold, with me and her brother than just hanging at the beach.
On the way down we tried another way to explore the rocks but found nothing. I was pretty sad and disappointed. I don’t know what I did wrong in trying to find the entry. The kids were still thrilled with the hike but I felt like I failed them. We had gone specifically to explore the maze of rocks. My daughter said it was an excuse to go again some time so I guess we will. If anyone reading this knows how to get down under those rocks, please share! I reviewed everything after arriving home and nothing was helpful. All sites make it sounds like the entry to the rocks is just right there.
Overall, though, it was a fantastic hike. It was peaceful and beautiful. You can continue on the trail for quite a few more miles if you so choose. You’d need a pick-up person, however, to get you at the end unless you hike all the way back.
Check out more photos from the hike.
I feel pretty happy that I have two kids who love to hike. They don’t complain while hiking unless they are seriously hurt. They like to explore and for the most part, they are able to keep their mouths shut for at least part of it so we can enjoy the sound of silence and nature.
I’ve been planning our Spring Break trip for months. I’m excited because we’ll be going to The Channels of Virginia which is a formation of Limestone rocks that are 400 million years old. I’ve done my research and I think this should be a pretty great hike. The initial climb might be tough – 3 miles gradually uphill – but we’re all in good shape so I’m not worried.
Another exciting thing is we’ll be staying in cabins at a Virginia State Park. This is as close to camping as we’ll get for now. Next week will be full of meal planning so I can be sure that we’ll be able to eat enough and make food that’s enjoyable. There are full kitchens in the cabins so it shouldn’t be a problem.
I imagine we’ll put in quite a few miles over the three days we’ll be out hiking. As always I’ll have full reviews here with photos. I’m not giving out exact information, obviously, because I’d rather be safe than sorry. My last worry is weather. I just want it to be nice. Last year we had a lousy day of hiking and the hike wasn’t even very good. The kids were troopers but I want something more exciting for them this year. And warmth.