Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail

Hiking.

Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors and in nature. As most of you know, the cold and I don’t get along very well. Due to that fact, I use every sunny opportunity to get outdoors in the winter.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

In my Friday Faves post a few week ago, I mentioned that the hubby and I had hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail here in Roanoke. That time, I didn’t bring along my camera, but as I shared last Friday we once again took advantage of a sunny day and went on the hike again. This time, I brought the camera.

Mill Mountain Park.

Mill Mountain Park spans 568 acres. Along with all of the amenities located within the park, there are also multi-use trails.  Mountain Bikers can use all the trails except the Watchtower Trail and the Star Trail. Hikers may use any of the trails.

Parking.

As I mentioned before, we choose to park in the car parking lot at 1208 Riverland Road. You can also park at the Mill Mountain Star and access the trail from the top.

We prefer to access it from this point because the ascent is on the front side of the hike. Also, once you reach the summit, there are benches and bathrooms. I prefer that in the middle of the hike vs. on the front or back end of the hike.

The parking lot is not very large and can fill quickly.

As you can see from the view in the opposite direction of the trail, Roanoke has a history as an Industrial Town. In fact, that segment is still in operation as an Industrial Center.

Star Trail / Woodthrush Connector.

From the parking lot, you begin the hike on a gravel path known as the Star Trail/ Woodthrush Connector.

You then reach the intersection where the two separate and we followed the Star Trail.

Star Trail.

The Star Trail is marked by a yellow blaze. It is hiker only, considered more difficult, and is 1.38 miles long (one way).

On our second hike, the green was beginning to sprout a little more. I suspect that as we move into spring, the trail will begin to look like an enchanted forest.

Fishburn Parkway.

The Star Trail crosses Fishburn Parkway.

Beware of cars and bicyclists as you cross the road. I’m pretty sure the bicyclists coming downhill are traveling much faster than any car. The cars heading uphill have a blind corner if they aren’t prepared for the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead.

It’s really not a scary as it sounds! Just use common sense when crossing.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get to the other side!

Okay, I had no real segway. I just wanted to show you that after you ascend the stairs, the hike climbs upward.

Some people cut off the first part of the hike by parking in the visible pull off area on Fishburn. However, there is only room for two cars.

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Star Trail / Monument Trail.

After some more hiking, you come to the intersection of the Star Trail and Monument Trail.

Monument Trail uses a white blaze, it is multi-use, is considered more difficult, and is 1.55 miles long. I have not hiked this trail yet.

We continue along the Star Trail until we reach the summit. According to the trail run project, the ascent of the trail is 631 feet.

If you recall when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth, the elevation change was 1500 feet, so I had no problem with the elevation change.

I had dusted off my Fitbit for my March Challenge and it claimed that I climbed about 65 flights of stairs. My iPhone was in the backpack that the hubby was toting and it claimed 30 flights of stairs.

Whatever the case, your legs will get a nice workout.

Treasures.

Many of you know that my posts are always photo heavy. I love taking photos. I also love research and know the amount of photos an average viewer will look at before they begin scrolling past (hint: it’s 5).

However, I know that you aren’t average and I feel like using more photos is the best way to walk you through the journey. BUT…if you feel differently, by all means let me know because as much as I hate culling my photographs… I can.

I captured many scenes that I considered to be treasures along the Star Trail. I’ve culled all but the photo of the Converse tossed over the power line at the summit of the trail. If in the future, I create a photo series of the treasures, I will come back an link it in this post.

Mill Mountain Star.

One of the highlights at the top of the Star Trail…is the actual Mill Mountain Star. I shared details about the Star when I gave you a photo tour of Roanoke.

The Summit.

There is an overlook at the Roanoke Star which gives you views of downtown Roanoke.

There are also bathrooms and a parking lot located here. A short walk around the park brings you to another overlook, a playground, Mill Mountain Zoo, another parking lot, and picnic tables.

The day that we hiked the Star Trail, many people were taking advantage of the sunshine.

There were children scrambling around the playground, squealing with delight. There were a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Dogs on leashes sniffed the ground.

There was a couple having lunch at the picnic table located on the overlook. There were crowds at the Star overlook, looking down into the city along with a group of college students asking somebody to take their photo in front of the Star.

All of us looking for a reprieve from the cabin fever that winter can bring.

Mill Mountain Star Trail sign in Roanoke, Virginia

The Way Back Home.

After taking in the beauty of the day, we began our descent.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

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Friday Faves Edition 54

Friday Faves Edition 54

Friday!

We’ve once again arrived at Friday. This week has been much better than the last two. Not without its stressors, but substantially better!

I think it was because the sun came out. Is that springtime peeking its head into Virginia?

I think maybe yes.

 

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Friday Faves.

This week I’ll just dive into the Friday Faves.

Obviously, #1 is that the sun came out! Hallelujah, I was rejoicing. I once mentioned that I’m like the clingy friend when it come to Vitamin D. I need the sun WAY more than it needs me.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

The hubby and I decided that we could not waste the sunshine. We went and hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail. You can see a map of this an surrounding trails here. Since we were hiking round trip, you can begin at the Star (210 Reserve Ave, Roanoke) or from the car parking lot (1208 Riverland Road, Roanoke). We started from Riverland Road, so it is uphill to the Star, which sits atop the summit of Mill Mountain. The summit is Roanoke’s highest point at 1,703 feet.

I didn’t bring along my camera, just the phone. I wasn’t sure what the trail was like and didn’t want to lug it along. Next time I’ll bring it and maybe can make the hike a post of its own as I have done with some other areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I knew there were many components to better mental health when spending time in nature. I had recently read an article about how time in nature (green space) reduced teen depression rates. A few days after the hike, I would read this article,which also mentions that knowledge. It also goes into the scientific backing of forest bathing. It talks about how the forest air is like an old friend to our bodies. One of those reasons is because mixed into the air are terpenes released by plants. Some of these terpenes have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, and neuroprotective activities.

I’ve always known that I feel better when walking through a forest. It’s amazing to read about the scientific reasoning behind much of it. The article shares even more about how forest air affects us. If you’re interested in Science, I recommend checking it out. They always link to the articles in which they are deriving the information, which is always a good source for even more knowledge.

 

 

Editing.

I worked some on editing my photos. The photo above is from Amsterdam and was in my archives. I really loved the pop of colors on the boats and the reflection in the water and in the windows. It made me realize that I really want to focus on learning how to use Lightroom.

I am still editing through an app on my phone even though I did sign up for a Lightroom/Photoshop package. I’ve been intimidated by the program and so I haven’t set aside the time to learn how to use it. I noticed when I was editing this photo, that while I’m very happy with the result, it’s also likely that in a program like Lightroom I would have been able to focus on exactly the spots I wanted versus the broad stroke of the selective tool that I now use.

I realize it’s time to press outside of my comfort zone in order to continue to grow in executing my creative vision.

 

Instagram.

I mentioned in last week’s Friday Faves that I was working on changing my Instagram grid to sets of three. I also have been trying to post more on my Instagram stories just to give people a little realistic glimpse into my life.

On Tuesday, I posted the above photo of Miss Sunshine. That photo was from her travel soccer season, but she had tryouts this week for the school season. I also talked on the Instagram story about how lovely the day had been. So lovely that I was able to throw open the window and the back door. Which was wonderful because the warm up and had made the house smell musty. I also started up the diffuser with a blend of lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils. This was to help air out that musty smell…or as I shared on the story “the smell of dog butt”.

Photography.

I also shared my promised post of Views From the Top of Princes Street Suites in Edinburgh Scotland filled with photographs of from the rooftop.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. -Winston Churchill . .as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am doing my photos in a series of three. If you know me, you may know what this series is about. If you know me really well, then you may know why…if not, stay tuned . . .#seekthesimplicity #helookslikemyside #nothingisordinary #visualsoflife #fromwhereistand #darlingescapes #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #naturehippys #beachlover #pocket_beaches #visitnc #optoutside #modernoutdoors #exploretocreate #exploremore #tlpicks #saltlife #natureaddict #natgeotravel #travelstoke #traveldeeper #doyoutravel #letsgosomewhere #thediscoverer #roamtheplanet #lifeofadventure #staysalty #wanderfolk #fiftyshades_of_nature

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My Children.

The trio of Instagram posts for this segment were photos of my children.

Day #2 was Mr. D.

The sun was shining brightly enough that I did my reading out on the back porch that day. I’m on book #5 for month in case you are wondering.  On Wednesday, it was so warm that I wore flip flops to my Pilates class and we broke weather records that Roanoke hadn’t seen since the 1930’s.

I also participated in the weekly photo challenge and Wordless Wednesday by sharing some photos from my archives of my trip to Amsterdam.

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Happy 18th Birthday to my oldest, @hunter02222 ! Rounding out the trio of photos of my children, if you hadn’t already guessed my theme. I am the mother of an official adult. I’m not sure how that happened! I remember the days when he was so little and I had to carry him around on my hip. And then, the day his shoe size surpassed his age. I don’t recall the day when he grew taller than me, but now standing at 6’6”, he towers over me by 10”! It’s been a fun journey watching him grow into a man…I can’t wait to see where he goes from here . .if you’ve made it this far and are looking for my daily quote: “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18” – Mark Twain . . .#happybirthday #18thbirthday #seekthesimplicity #fromwhereistand #visualsoflife #optoutside #wildernessculture #theoutdoorfolk #folkscenery #rsa_folknature #lifeofadventure #travelstoke #traveldeeper #blueridgeday #stayandwander #exploretocreate #exploremore #letsgosomewhere #nothingisordinary #liveoutdoors #theglobewanderer #neverstopexploring #sonyalpha #loveva #roamtheplanet

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Mother of an Adult.

Yesterday was Big Mr.’s birthday. He turned eighteen. I wrote a post about how strange it feels to be the mother of an adult.

I talked like crazy on my Instagram story. Much more than I usually do.

I did what every good mother does when it’s her child’s birthday….I went shopping for myself.

Actually, I had already planned that errand for the day. I am slowly looking for clothes to take to Aruba and an outfit for an upcoming party that I’ll be attending. As my final stop before returning home, I planned to pick up a cake for Big Mr. I saw that I had missed a text saying the check the website for an important message from the middle school.

Guns at School.

My stomach dropped. My immediate thought was is the school on lockdown. There wasn’t a message on the website. I went in to buy a cake. The hubby texts me and asks if I got the phone call that a student had brought a gun to school. I had missed a call from the school, but the voicemail hadn’t come through yet.

I was stunned.

So I checked the school website again. And there it was. The important message that a student had brought a loaded handgun to the middle school. It was in the student’s locker and had been brought in on a dare with no intent to harm. This was the message.

When Miss Sunshine came home we discussed the situation. She wasn’t visibly shaken, but some of my children tend to repeat elements of a story when they are bothered by something…whether that’s real life, a news story, a scene in a movie, etc. It is their way of working through and processing something.

I will state right here that my website is not a place for a debate on gun control. Most people involved in that conversation get ugly pretty quickly…on both sides. I don’t promote hostility and won’t be starting today. Any commentary to that effect will be removed.

I do believe that we need to keep our school children safe.

I read a commentary by the Sheriff in Lee County (a county in Florida beside the one in which I grew up). He talked about how we feel safe when we enter a courthouse or when we fly and it due to increased security procedures. You’re welcome to read it here.

I thought about sharing what I wrote on my private Facebook page, but I’m still leery about even telling you guys about the fact that we had this scare. There are some people out there who seem to have nothing better to do than attack and my mental health does not do well with that. I will share that a snippet referred to the fact that we need not reminisce on the good ol’ days when this didn’t happen and instead focus on how we are going to address the current reality.

Our kids deserve to not live in fear.

Birthday Dinner.

Even though it was a mentally distressing and highly disturbing event, we weren’t going to let it stop life. It was Big Mr.’s 18th birthday, after all. The five of us along with three of his friends all went out to dinner. He chose a restaurant called Texas Roadhouse. Even though he didn’t want them to, his friends shared that it was his birthday. They have you climb on to a horse saddle and have everyone yell “YeeHaw” for you. It was quite hilarious. I was only able to share a little segment of the entire thing on my Instagram Story, but it was quite funny.

If you hurry, it’ll still be on my story until around 8 p.m. EST.

Motorcycles.

Big Mr. had a motorcycle permit and he took a class which means that once he’s turned eighteen…aka yesterday…he can legally drive a motorcycle without being followed by an adult.

Lord help my soul!

Honestly, I do love that my teenagers are daredevils. They live life to the fullest. I could learn a thing or two from them.

Music.

Since I talked about what life was like for me when I turned 18, I also got sucked in to what songs were popular when I was that age. This week I’ve chosen a song that came out near the end of 1995, shortly after I turned 18. I owned the CD and played it repetitively. It’s probably pretty apparent that I’ve always hated being told I couldn’t do something just because I’m a girl.

 

I hope that you all have a light-filled weekend and week up ahead. Hand out hugs freely to those that you love, smile at the shy person in corner, spread your light as far as you can.

 

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