Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boone, NC Grandfather Mountain

While we were in Boone, we wanted to get at least one good day hike in, and our host, Jen, took us over to Grandfather Mountain.  Grandfather Mountain is about an hour outside of Boone, NC.  It was privately owned until 2006 and from my understanding is being turned into a state park.  All the signs in the area boasted that it was the tallest mountain in the area and that it was North Carolina's numero uno natural tourist attraction.

Visible from the road is a big ol' swinging bridge connecting two of the higher peaks on the mountain.  I've gathered that it's called the 'swinging bridge' because it sways in the high speed winds (sometimes up to 200 mph!) at that altitude.  Although it's accessible by car, we didn't get to see the tourist center or the mile high swinging bridge, which just gives us an excuse to go back and check out Boone again :D

Hiking the trail was Andrea, Jen, and I as well as Jen's dog Djinni, and an extremely lovable (but mildly retarded) beagle named Rosie who somehow hopped aboard the car on our way out of Boone.  We hiked Profile Trail, to Grandfather Mountain Trail, to Calloway Peak, which is the highest peak on the mountain and is more secluded than the touristy side of Grandfather Mountain, so we only encountered a few other hikers along the way.  

So, in the last year or so before this trip I went from being in some form of good shape to an atrophied puddle of once-man.  I had stopped working out, riding my bike, and eating right and replaced all  that with stress over school, junk food, and spending lots of quality time with the circa 1973 floral-patterned yellow grandma-couch that somehow kept finding its way back in the house from the shed (long story).  This played a pretty big toll on me throughout the day.  
It was a 7 mile hike round-trip and about a 2000 foot change in elevation.  The first mile and a half was a breeze.  I was hopping up on rocks, playing with the dogs, screaming for Rosie every time she'd gotten lost, and gleefully skipping over tree roots without so much as breakin' a sweat.  Then I hit a wall.  The rest of the climb up was TOUGH.  More than anything, I was having trouble breathing, which may actually have more to do with my Florida lungs being unable to cope with the altitude change than my ex-couchfriend, but whatever it was, my body was well aware that something was not right.  I was huffing and puffing and sweatin' bullets.  

Once we made it to Calloway peak, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and the wind was kickin'!  It was well worth every drop of sweat and strained breath and every step of every mile to earn the view we saw from that mountain top.  It was clear, blue skies with near perfect visibility.  The five of us sat on the boulder we'd just climbed up and soaked it in for a while before heading back.  

Dog of the Year

Well... the four of us... Rosie got stuck on the ladder and just kinda stared at the ground for a while til Jen untangled her.  


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  3. Beautiful views...I've never been on a mountain trail hike...but it does sound like it's not easy...thumbs up to you both for conquering these trails :)