travel

Grandfather Mountain.

Monday, July 21, 2014

When you're on top of a mountain, you can see the whole world, but the world can't see you. When you're thousands of feet above everyone else sitting among the clouds, you feel like the most important person on Earth and so insignificant at the same time. It's a feeling like no other.

Last week, my family hiked Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. While it's hardly the tallest mountain out there, it was a long and strenuous climb. I was sweaty, tired, and at some points questioning why I decided to climb this stupid mountain in the first place, yet it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.



We decided we would hike Grandfather Mountain from the very bottom to the summit, so we chose 'Profile Trail'. We don't play no games when it comes to hiking mountains. It's all or nothing. :)

 Anyways, at around 7:30 AM, we literally started from the bottom (Really bad Drake reference) 


Ten minutes in, I was in love. Nature never ceases to blow my mind, and climbing the mountain proved to be no exception. Something about the way the early morning sun came through the trees seemed unreal. It was one of those moments where you feel like no matter what, everything is going to be okay.





Every moment of the climb was a 'Kodak Moment'. I wanted to take pictures of every single little thing. It was all so beautiful. The trail ended, and we had to cross a bit of water on slippery rocks, so I had to refrain from my blogging mode and focus.


While I did take time to focus on the climb and enjoy living, my mom did manage to capture me in my natural state; taking pictures of course! Throughout the whole trip, my dad took pictures of me taking pictures. He claims he's going to start his own blog about me blogging. (Kind of like Inception in a blog I suppose.) He must've been quite busy taking pictures of me photographing Grandfather Mountain. I never stopped!


Somehow amidst all the picture taking, I did manage to stay on my feet and keep up the pace. The first 2,000 feet was a slow and steady uphill climb that made photographing everything really simple. In retrospect, this was the easy part. We kept joking around saying that the trail was hardly strenuous, but a mile in, we started to hit the real climb. That was when the camera went into the backpack.


At the halfway point, we stopped to explore some mossy rocks and a little creek bed. The picture hardly captures the beauty that was there. We left our bags on the shore and climbed the rocks until we found a small waterfall. I didn't have a camera to take any pictures of it, but living it was more than enough.


After nearly falling into the creek as I climbed back towards the trail and actually partially falling in once, we drank lots of water and ate our body weight in grapes before hitting the trail again.


There was one last bit of nice trail before it became a rocky uphill climb. We were so close yet so far to the top. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't very tired at this point, but I was absolutely determined to see the view from the top.

As they say, "The harder the hill (er...mountain), the steeper the climb, the better the view from the finish line."


It's a mystery to me why we so willingly subjected ourselves to a tough climb for fun, but somewhere between the bottom of the mountain and the summit, I solved the mystery.

I can't exactly put the solution in words, but the second I saw the view from the top, it seemed to make perfect sense.



We had to take a selfie on top of the mountain of course. Because did you climb a mountain if you didn't take a selfie when you reached the top? (Okay yeah, I know selfies are a really gross aspect of 21st century people, but at least the view from the top somewhat qualifies this selfie.)

Started from the bottom now we here. (Did you really think I was letting that Drake reference go?)

While we had reached the top, we hadn't reached the highest point. We decided that we'd come too far to leave before going to the actual summit. Hiking the extra half mile to the summit was all fun and games until the trail disappeared. And by disappeared, I mean ladders became the only way to reach the top.

Please look at my face in the picture to the left to see how hilarious/unbelievable I thought the whole ladder situation was. The important thing is, I did it. I climbed the stupid ladder to reach the summit.


And I was not disappointed.

There were no other people at the top of the mountain. It was just my family and nature. I felt like I could see the whole world. People look like ants and homes looked like doll houses. The business of day to day life continued below, but at the top of the mountain, time seemed to stand still. It was truly a slice of paradise.

Climbing Grandfather Mountain was difficult, fun, exciting, scary, tiring, beautiful, and everything in between. It's something I want to do over and over again. So, if you ever have the opportunity to climb a mountain, do it. 

I could give you heaps of reasons as to why you should, but Jack Kerouac summed it up perfectly. "Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain." (Please excuse the language. It was too good of a quote!)


Last but not least, this is a special shout out to Brittany at Blissful Britt. She's a major mountain climber and lover of hikes in general, and she was my inspiration when I hit the trails! I can now relate to you on a whole other level! xx

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27 Happy Thoughts

  1. This is absolutely amazing. What a wonderful experience to have with your family. My mom is NOT into nature at all, but growing up when Id visit my daddy he and I would do all sorts of trail walks, river rafting and camping. It was beautiful and something that Ive always cherished. I wish I didn't live in LA so that I could get out into nature more. Too many stinking buildings around me!!

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    1. River rafting, trail walks, and camping sound amazing! Not everyone loves nature, and that's okay, but some of those sights are just too incredible to pass up! I was so proud of my mom. She hiked all those trails like a champ! I wish I lived closer to nature too, but hey, LA is pretty darn cool. :) xx

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  2. This post totally reminded me of Blissful Britt, so I love that you did a shout out to her at the end!! Looks like an awesome - and tough - climb and that view....wow!

    -Amy

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    1. I thought of her my entire vacation. I've become this creepy fangirl. It was so much! I hope you've enjoyed being in my home state lately xx

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  3. I am swooning SO hard at this entire post. Top to bottom. These photos...this mountain...your selfies...MY SHOUT OUT!? You are too sweet. I ADORE that photo of you overlooking the mountain/roads/towns. AHH I can't put my feelings into the right words. LOVE LOVE LOVE. <3

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    1. You seriously have no idea how much I thought of you during this trip. I found out about all your hikes AND your solo hike? You're so cool. Can I be you when I grow up? So jealous you've been hitting west coast mountains lately! Your pictures have been amazing!

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  4. so pretty! just came on your blog its great! the pictures are awesome x

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    1. Um I LOVE your blog. I'm really jealous that you live in Europe though. We should switch places for a week xx

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  5. Wow, what beautiful place to take a hike or run!

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    1. Isn't it? Nature makes me feel like asdfksjdf, but in a good way.

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  6. CONGRATS! I've loved the mountains for as long as I can remember. Although since I'm usually going down them in the middle of winter, I think I should try going UP in the nice weather! All your pictures look stunning. <3

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    1. Aw thanks Emma! I really want to go back one winter because I've heard it's gorgeous. I'm pretty sure I'd be awful at hiking in the cold or snow! But YES! Go when the weather is nice. It was actually cool throughout the hike, especially at the summit. I was honestly cold (Okay, I AM a Texas girl though, so I get cold super fast.)

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  7. Stunning pictures Katherine! Brandon and I secretly want to move to NC to settle down and start a family. But we're not sure if it's in the cards. Hopefully because you make it look gorgeous!

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    1. DO IT. You can live in the mountains out west or near beaches and the coast in the east. It has a little bit of everything. Oh, and the weather is pretty lovely too! :)

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  8. I am so glad that y'all got to do that!! I only wish I was there climbing with you. Next mountain trip needs to be go climb one of Beth's!!

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    1. I miss you so so much! I had the greatest time seeing you. I missed staying with Gran, but I seriously loved staying with you. Everything was so relaxed, and pulling up trees, running up hills, and watching documentaries about The Eagles is the best way to spend your vacation. I LOVED climbing the mountains. This was probably my favorite trip to NC yet. I've already found some trails in Colorado that I want to hike. You'll have to join us next time if we ever make it out West! I love and miss you lots xx

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  9. Next summer, you have to come early and disguise the date you're getting here - and then you can spend time with me alone!! We can do lots of exploring and watch part 2 of the Eagles (I'll even start part 1 so you can see the rest of it) The trip out west would be amazing - as long as it's in the summer, lol. I really enjoyed having y'all stay here for more than the last night of your visit. It was so much fun!!! Love you and miss you lots xxx

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    1. I won't even disguise my date! I'll just come! I mean you are one of my favorite people. You buy me lots of bananas even though you hate them. That's love. And YES I really regret not seeing part 2 of that documentary. It was absolutely hilarious.

      My dad also wants to come early and be your handy man. He's so excited that he knows how to fix some of your things/ dig up trees, so he's apparently made that one of his goals. He says he felt useful. Anyways, it was really nice having an extended stay! I didn't feel like crying because we were leaving every night. I did really miss Cookie and our mutual hatred! She was always a highlight.

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    2. Cool! Now all I have to do is wait for next summer - is it okay if I'm already doing that. Tell your Dad that I'll start my list and keep him busy, lol. I think of him every time I drive up and don't see that horrible stump!! It definitely was weird not to have Cookie attacking your dad and brother. The video of her and Harrison's foot was a classic, lol. It was just too much fun having y'all here!

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  10. Everything looks so beautiful from the top! I wish I could have gone on some exquisite hikes this summer, but at least I was able to make it outdoors :)

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    1. Your races have been insane though! And all the free stuff you've gotten totally rivals mountains :)

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  11. Wow!! It looks gorgeous there! I wish there were mountains around here to hike.. and I LOVED the Drake reference :P

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    1. It was so so pretty. Ugh I still can't get over it! xx

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  12. Your introductory paragraph is wonderful. Looks like a tough yet beautiful hike! Drake reference necessary ;)

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    1. I was so unsure of the whole first paragraph, so you just gave me a major self esteem boost, and thank you for accepting me Drake references and all. :) xx

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  13. I love this oh my gosh. It's so BEAUTIFUL. I can't say I've climbed a mountain like that, but I've seen some pretty spectacular views and I totally feel you on feeling like you can see the whole world and you just feel like you understand life for a second, you know? Let's go on a hike sometime, kay? Kay.

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  14. Beautiful, and peaceful!

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