When I left Florida for the Blue Ridge Mountains at 18 to attend Appalachian State University, I was determined to find a hobby in hiking. In fact, I had convinced myself that hiking was already my hobby…so much so that I put it on my Facebook profile which also claimed that I preferred tea to coffee and soy hot cocoas with raspberry (You know… because that’s so important).
Little did I know, hiking is more than just enjoying the great outdoors. And when my first real hike happened, I wasn’t prepared for it.
A senior guy had asked me on a hike, and as a lowly freshman who wasn’t used to the dating scene– I WAS SO EXCITED and just as nervous. So I brought a friend along with me because for some reason, being alone in the wilderness with a guy I didn’t know all too well seemed like stranger danger.
Note to self: don’t bring athletic friends with you on an athletic date when you, yourself, are not an athletic person.
It turned into more of their date than mine. They were so fast at their trek through Linville Falls that I kept pretending to fall, just to catch my breath.
But no worries. That guy wasn’t the one anyway. I nipped that one in the bud once I realized he hated mushrooms– an unforgivable sin in the Italian world and an obvious sign we would never work out.
Then there was that other time freshman year where my roommate and I hiked with a military guy and his friend…well more like boulder hopped. It was fun, but there was that moment where he held out his arms and said “Just jump!” and I somehow hit the side of my head on a boulder. I don’t really remember many details after that.
So hiking became more of a Facebook lie and wish list hobby than an actual hobby hobby. Apart from the occasional short hike to Beacon Heights (which is highly recommended), I haven’t hiked much since that year.
However, when asked, I still tell people I love hiking. I know. There’s something wrong with me. I even told Addison I looked forward to our married life in Boone because every Saturday we’d wake up to pancakes and hiking.
Yeah, that’s never happened.
I did go hiking with my former college roommate and her boyfriend when she came to visit me a couple months ago. But he’s an ultra runner who usually runs UP the mountain, so I eventually let him continue on his way while I found a nice view to contemplate life with my friend and talk about when the heck he would propose to her (which they’re now engaged, yay!)
But now my dearest friend DeDee moved away and before she did, we needed to do something fun to savor the last few moments together. The Hubs had already suggested going hiking at Grandfather Mountain because it’s Dollar Days for NC locals. (Usually it costs like $18 to just get into Grandfather!)
So for Dedee’s last weekend in Boone, the husband, DeDee, and I went on an epic hike on Grandfather Mountain.
And boy was it epic.
You see, Grandfather Mountain has a famous “Mile High Bridge” which is just WIRE. Suspended. Over rock.
That beast is intimidating enough without 55 mph winds trying to knock you off the unstable bridge where people kept freaking out and bumping into each other because halfway through they’d panic and realize we were all going to die.
And yes, I was one of those panic-stricken people. It was TERRIBLE. Sure, there was a sign that said, “DO NOT CROSS DURING HIGH WINDS,” but I guess high winds to my crew was 56 mph and not 55. I was convinced DeDee’s tiny self was going to be swept up in a rogue gust, never to be seen again. And then I realize, nah. DeDee is a fiesty one. She’d hang on to that railing for dear life (or die taking the rest of us with her). If anyone’s going to blow over the bridge, it would be my clumsy, uncoordinated self.
Fortunately that did not happen. I warned DeDee that if I had died, she’d be expected to marry Addison so he can function as a human being (I love my husband, but there was that one time I left him for a three-day girl’s weekend and when I came home, I found out he only ate a turkey sandwich…one turkey sandwich over the course of THREE DAYS). DeDee declined the duty, but said she’d spend her life sending him google calendar reminders for daily things.
Fair enough. I always knew I could depend on her.
We made it to the other side of the bridge, only to realize it wasn’t that awesome on the other side and were terrified to cross the death bridge again…
So then we go up to where the Profile Trail starts (you know, where all those glorious warning signs are informing you that it’s a very rigorous trail).
However, when we get to the beginning we were informed that we needed take our car to the lower level parking lot because we were young. But never fear! There’s a half-mile trail that will lead us back up to where the REAL trail starts.
Oh joy monkeys and applesauce. Aren’t we lucky to be young.
So we moved our car to the bottom parking lot, and hiked all the way up. When we finally started the Profile Trail, the wind had gotten really bad so we had to don even heavier coats than before. It was a LOT of fun, albeit, exhausting and terrifying when the wind kept trying to sweep me to a rocky death off the side of the mountain.
At one point, I found a park bench. And died.
And at another point, I decided to wait for the two adventurers to go up to a really terrifying part of the trail. Basically, the only way to climb up the mountain was with LADDERS….by the way, the wind was still 55 mph. Yeah, no thank you. But Addison was able to snap this awesome pic of DeDee who is FEARLESS.
We really did have a blast. And according to My Fitness Pal, our epic hiking adventure burned well over 700 calories just for about 2 hours of hiking.
Plus, the views were so worth it.
Plus the Hubs looks super cute when he’s in the wilderness. Just saying.
So yeah. The take away from this blog is 1) I’m still pretending to be a pro hiker after all this time and 2) I really miss DeDee.