June 17, 2017
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
-Frank Lloyd Wright
As a kid, my parents took me to the summit Grandfather Mountain, but I have no memory of this and have never returned. I was under the assumption that I had to pay to hike in the park. Unbeknownst to me, in 2008 North Carolina purchased the “backcountry” portion of Grandfather and turned it into a state park. It is now free of charge to hike and camp in that area, as well no cost is charged to hike to the private portion, where the swinging bridge is located. The only cost would be if you drive up to the summit via the private road.
The Grandfather area is one of wonderment and amazing foliage, rock strewn boulders, steep climbs and beauteous views. The Daniel Boone Scout trail was a heady 3 mile steep climb. The trail is rooted in most spots, so it is hard to find a steady gait. The lush laurel and ferns sweep the forest floor. As Grandfather is a humid continental climate, there is often rain in the summer months. Thick clouds descended upon the mountain and a steady rain greeted me. From the first vista at Flat Rock, the thick fog covered any view. The last mile is very uphill, and two different ladders were attached to the boulders for climbing.
After 3 miles, the Scout Trail meets the Grandfather Trail at Calloway Peak. There was no view, but I had some great conversations with people resting from their hikes.
At the summit, the rain began to pour down. On the return hike I was lost in my thoughts amongst the downpour in nature.
Total mileage is 6 miles.