Today we attempted the second of three summit hikes to Calloway Peak.
The plan was to take on the most rugged of the three, which starts just past the Grandfather Mountain “swinging bridge” parking lot–a 5-mile (more or less) out and back hike across the exposed rock ridges of MacRae Peak and Attic Peak.
But we had to modify our plans….
It wasn’t the weather that did us in, though there was a heavy fog most of the day, and the employee at the gate gave us the standard “treacherous trails” warning as we started up the road. And it wasn’t the physical challenge of the trail itself, though on more than a few occasions the grade certainly earned its “most strenuous” rating.
No, it was the ladders.
We brought our dog with us, who on many other trails has proven himself to be the reincarnation of a Tibetan goat. But he met his match with the MacRae Peak ladders.
He scrambled his way past the first ladder ascent, but the second and third were his undoing. He made the summit rather ingloriously, as a parcel under my son’s arm.
Once we reached MacRae Peak, we still had almost another mile ahead of us, down into MacRae Gap before ascending again (more ladders and cables) to Attic Peak and then finally Calloway.
We took a reality check and decided to cut back on the “low road” Underwood Trail and call it a day.
There’s a strength in perseverance, to be sure. But there is also a wisdom in knowing when you have reached a limit.