I used to say I was more of a summer person, but I have grown to hate the heat. North Carolina is just so incredibly hot and humid during the summer. If you don’t have access to a pool, or a hose that hasn’t been baking in the sun, it’s not worth going outside, even for a second.
Maybe it’s the California beach bum in me? I love that 60-70 degree weather, the sun, and the cool breeze. I am not going to lie, the weather has still been pretty hot, in the city, these past few days, but I have already rocked the autumn colors, the boots, and the scarves.
I think my favorite part of Autumn is seeing the colors fade in the mountains. I don’t know what it is, but I feel at peace up there; climbing as high at the mountain will let you, looking down and seeing the many breath-taking color gradients. I feel like I could spend forever up there. I’d love to have my own little log cabin-styled mountain house someday; maybe near a stream or small waterfall.
To honor the season, I visited Grandfather Mountain. The drive there was dreary; the sun set quickly and it began to pour. I was only able to capture a couple good shots before the rain and the darkness ruined the chances of any other good pictures being taken.
The next morning, the weather was perfect! We got to Grandfather Mountain around 11:30 a.m. and I was able to snap a picture of myself at one of the overlooks on the road to the parking area.
The trail started off well. I got to walk through clouds, stand above the clouds, and see a cave. It was a breath taking experience. I did get a bit scared at times because some of the ladders we had to climb were on the edge of a cliff, and there was nothing but ropes that kept us from falling off the mountain; however, the view was worth it. But soon, I began to realize that I was in over my head. I needed climbing gloves, better shoes, and waterproof pants, if I wanted to survive this trek to Grandfather Mountain.
First things first, if you ever see a sign that looks like this, make sure you are fully prepared for whatever may come your way. You know- ladders hanging off the side of the mountain, rope that is the only thing stopping you from falling to your imminent death, and rain, from the night before that makes every rock a slippery death trap.
After a three-and-a-half hour hike, we only made it 1.6 miles out due to the fact that the mileage doesn’t include the trek up and down the steep mountains. We ended up having to turn back because it began to rain and there wasn’t enough time for us to return to the car.
During the trek back to the car, I aggravated my ankle injury, which made walking difficult. My hiking boots were also incredibly cheap and had no traction at all, so I kept sliding off rocks, falling, and tripping. At one point, I slid down a rock that I was trying to hop off of, on only my left foot. When I hit the ground my right knee smashed against a pointed rock and I laid in agony for a minute or two before deciding to carry on.
The fog grew so thick that we could barely see what was ahead of us. Finally, we made it back to the car, stumbling and soaked, but we vowed to come back and not be defeated by this mountain again.
Hopefully, before I graduate, I will be able to tell you all the story of how I overcame Grandfather Mountain.