Pretty much all of this year, I’ve thought, from time to time about hiking up Pinnacle trail in Crowder’s Mountain State Park, about 45 minutes from my house. Yet, each time that I thought to do it, I never carried through.
Today, I thought of it again, this morning. I looked at the date, December 30th, and decided that it was now or never. Several of my friends from The Peaceful Dragon have done it before and it isn’t exactly what you might call Mount Everest. It’s a modest hill, compared to those mountains.
I decided to get in the car and head over there. I stopped, got a bottle of water, and headed to the trail head. 45 minutes later, I was at the trailhead and I headed up.
The information given for the trail says that it is a 1.7 mile (About 3K) strenuous hike. The notations for the trail indicate that it gets pretty strenuous around the 1K, or 0.6 mile mark. The start of the trail is very gradual uphill; however, as they said, at the 0.6 mile marker, things get tougher as the slope increases and the number of rocks and roots in the trail greatly increase as well.
I climbed up, up, and up. Soon, even though it was only 45 degrees, I needed no hat, I was sweating. I had adequate layers and began to peal some of them off. Around the the half way point, there was a warning sign, pictured here, indicating that you might want to stay on the trail!
Onward and upward. My breathing was getting more labored, my sweat glands getting more of workout. Ah! A bench! What a great idea. I took a rest, letting my breath catch up with me. I continued on. From the rear, I heard some people coming. It was a family of 5. Two adults, 2 kids, and one senior. This guy was probably in his mid to late 70s. They passed me. Damn! This guy was in good shape. I wondered: Exactly how much further up this damned hill do I have to go. There was a sign, only 2/10 of a mile to go, about 1100 feet, or 330 meters or so, but it was up and even steeper ascent.
Fortunately, I had been drinking water, so my sweat glands were still producing sweat readily. I thought that it was only 45 degrees outside. I must have been mistaken. One does not sweat at 45 degrees thusly!
2/10 mile and 2 more rest stops later, I reach a sign that says: End of Trail. Well, that’s anticlimactic! There was a outcropping of stone to climb. A young man of about 14 said: The view is beautiful up here, you should come up, as he scampered up the rocks with little effort. I replied: Of course, I didn’t climb all the way up here to be thwarted by a few rocks.
I climbed up and over the rocks and was treated to a beautiful sight. I was at one of the highest points in Gaston County and could see for miles around. As I crested the rocks, a hawk flew over. I had made it and what a great feeling it was!
I stayed up there for about 45 minutes, just looking, taking photos, and enjoying the view, loving it. I was glad that I had brought my had and proceeded to reapply my various layers. It was cold up there and windy.
The only unfortunate part, at least for me, was that I arrived up there near midday and the lighting was flat. It was hard to get a sense of depth, but this is minor. I enjoyed the hike and finally did what I wanted to do all year.