Rumbling Bald, a beautiful section of the Hickory Nut Gorge, is a fee-free area of Chimney Rock State Park. It features steep gneiss walls, damp fracture caves, and stunning boulder fields. The TRACK Trail materials help kids explore the geology and ecosystem of Hickory Nut Gorge.
A group of about forty 2nd graders arrived on a beautiful sunny morning as patches of fog drifted over the rocky walls of the gorge. As they exited the school bus, a teacher noticed the fog and lead the group in reciting a relevant poem:
'Fog' by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
The class had recently visited the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site on a field trip and the beauty of the scene inspired an impromptu poetry session. With fresh inspiration, the kids were ready to explore the trail. But first, it was time to cut the ribbon and officially welcome the Rumbling Bald TRACK Trail to the Kids in Parks network!
With the ribbon cut, the children warmed up with some Animal Athlete exercise before hitting the trail. As we traveled deeper into the forest, we made all kinds of discoveries. Hundreds of snails hiding in the damp leaves. Ant hills. Black rat snakes. Salamanders. Boulder fields. Tulip poplar flowers. The riches of nature were around every turn and the keen young minds of the kids made discovery after discovery.
If this adventure sounds like your idea of a good time, be sure to plan a trip to Rumbling Bald at Chimney Rock State Park!