Friday, October 13, 2017

A Foggy Weekend on Grandfather Mountain

October 6-7, 2017

The mountains found in North Carolina are, in my opinion, vastly underrated. Sure, they aren't as tall as the Rockies or as jagged and majestic as the Alps, but they have an understated charm to their forested, gentling rolling hills. So naturally, when I found that I'd be spending a weekend with my parents sans siblings I suggested we take a weekend trip out to Grandfather Mountain, one of the more well known peaks in the Blue Ridge stretch. 

We - along with our horrifically unphotogenic dog - drove in Friday evening, fitfully slept next to the world's loudest air conditioner, and woke up Saturday morning to the perfect hiking weather: overcast in the mid-60s. As we made our way up the mountain highways, however, we found ourselves driving into a thick fog that covered the peaks and left the overlooks peering out into white nothingness. 

Having never been to Grandfather Mountain before, all I knew about was the famous Mile High Bridge, a swinging structure strung up a mile above sea level. We decided to skip it as it's $20/person and the fog was unlikely to burn off in time for it to be worth it. We carried on up the peakway, finally stopping off at the beginning of the Daniel Boone Scout Trail, a self-proclaimed "moderately strenuous" trail that would take us to Calloway Peak, the tallest point on Grandfather Mountain.

We should've known from the trailhead how difficult the hike would actually be; the trail rose 2000 feet over three miles, and it felt like a three-mile stair climber exercise. The trail was also incredibly rocky and at times required climbing over boulders, which our 11-year-old dog seemed to handle far better than any of us.

Eventually we reached Calloway Peak - we being my mom and I, as getting to it required climbing three ladders which our dog, for obvious reasons, could not do. As we reached the top we could see...


The fog had not relented at all in the time it had taken us to hike to the top. The most we could see were the tops of the trees below us and around us, but there was nothing to be seen more than 15 feet away.

The lack of mountaintop views was disappointing to be sure, but the changing of the leaves and the fog covering the trees were gorgeous to see. The forested trails are completely unlike the hilly trails we have in the piedmont at home, and a mountain trail is far more satisfying to finish than a standard wooded trail. Our mountain trip was not as anticipated, but I'm still happy to have gone.
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