Hiking Grandfather Mountain

Quite possibly my favorite day of our vacation was our last day before traveling home. Hubby and I got to enjoy a day-date while the grandparents took care of the kids. Dates in general, are few and far between for us. Time, energy and babysitting are in short demand in this stage of life. Hubby and I also have differing views of what makes a good date. For me, doing something active or going out for a nice dinner somewhere is where it’s at. Hubby likes the more traditional movie. I’m not a fan of movies hence our dating dilemma.

But since we were on vacation, outdoor exploration was in order. We decided to drive up to the mountains to explore.

2 hours after we hit the road, we had made our way up the winding roads to Grandfather Mountain. We parked and took in the views. Spectacular and we hadn’t even started to hike yet!

We made our way to the suspension bridge that sits at about a mile high. I should point out that I don’t like heights. I especially don’t like being near cliffs or edges where I might slip and fall to my demise. And I really hate that hubby isn’t in the least bit afraid and gives me palpitations with how close to the edges he walks without breaking a sweat.

5200 feet, another 600+ to the top!
5200 feet, another 600+ to the top!

But give me a spectacular view and I can suck it up for a few seconds.

After the bridge we decided to hike up to Macrae Peak, over 600 feet higher than we currently stood. We’d been warned that bad weather was threatening to roll in and we needed to be mindful that electrical storms, 50+ mile per hour winds and torential rain were a possibility.


So up we started. This was a challenging climb. Lots of moments on hands and knees navigating steep climbs and slippery rocks. Steeper parts were aided with ladders or cables. No where was there ever rails or anything to keep you from falling. If I’d had a paper bag, I would have been breathing into it.

Some of the steep climbs
Some of the steep climbs

There were definite moments of “what the Heck was I thinking” and having to calm myself down as we climbed higher and higher and heard the occasional rumble of thunder off in the distance.

But eventually, we made it to the top and the view was well worth the panic.

That view tho...
That view tho…
Selfie from the summit. Smiling on the outside, terrified on the inside.
Selfie from the summit. Smiling on the outside, terrified on the inside.

After a few minutes at the top, we began our descent. We hadn’t gotten far when a loud alarm started ringing. We assumed this meant that they wanted hikers off the mountain because the bad weather was coming fast. Indeed at the top we noticed lightening and heavy clouds below us ( super bizarre to watch btw). So we picked up the pace a little bit and gradually worked our way down the same way we had climbed.

Thankfully, we made it back to the car and the, now empty, parking lot in one piece with the majority of bad weather avoiding us.

This was a spectacular climb. It was really neat to be able to do and because the climb was a bit more technical, very few people ventured beyond the lookout point at the suspension bridge so it really felt like we had discovered a little bit of paradise that was just for us.

It makes me very thankful that I am healthy enough to do these things. A couple of years ago, there is no way I would have been strong enough to attempt half of what we did without extreme exhaustion. I doubt I would have made it to the top let alone being able to get up and down with minimal fatigue and no soreness the next day.