The Star Trail
Matthew carries Lily's never-needed carry pack on the way up the Star Trail.
Mill Mountain Star Trail up and down. 3.4 miles.
With family logistics being such that our usual Saturday evening out was instead going to be in the company of two of the four grandchildren, we decided to work to integrate the best of several worlds into one: a nice dinner, a hike and time with little ones.
Matthew, seven, has done this hike before, though he did not seem to remember it nearly as well as the longer ones he has done with us, with Tinker Cliffs the most pointedly recalled.
For Lily, four, and something of a tender little person, this was her first walk in the woods with us, and we prepared by taking along a carry-a-little-person pack with us. This necessitated Matthew carrying a pack as well, a duty he took on with pride if occasional mention of shoulder distress and assertions that Lily would not need to be carried.
One sure hit of a hike with people under four feet tall is the water bladder, with its handy nipple dispensing ice water any time you want it. And the shorter you are, the more you do.
Both little hikers made it up the 1.7-mile trail with no more difficulty than a stumble or two, despite The Day Hiker's worries that their sandaly shoes were going to be a problem. They spent some distance finding yellow blazes and finding pine cones, but mostly just walked.
After a brief tour of the Star overlook, now with a photographic guide to the mountains in view, we headed down to the picnic area to select a table for dinner. Our semi-gourmet fare included Lunchables for the smaller people and the ever-treasured combination of roast beef sandwiches with Cheetos for the bigger, older people.
The recently installed play area was the perfect spot for those who are not so prone to linger over dinner as The Day Hiker and I are.
The walk back down, tho' we raced the oncoming darkness, was also mostly incident-free, again with just a trip or two.
And the person-carrying pack, as Matthew had asserted at the start that it would be, was carried empty all the way up and all the way down, as Lily and The Day Hiker (a.k.a. Gigi) agreed that Lily is, in addition to being a pretty little girl, a hiker chick.
How to get there: From downtown Roanoke, Walnut off of Jefferson to Riverside and parking lot just past the 9th Street bridge.
July 10, 2010 hike.