Monday, September 12, 2011


Day two of the third weekend down here... how is it all slipping by so quickly?

Having ridden quite a bit the day before, we ate breakfast (oatmeal with blueberries, yum!) and broke down camp at a leisurely pace. Our plan was to split up for the day and meet back at home. Robb and a friend went climbing at Looking Glass (it was pretty easy for them, I hear)...

Casual Day at P2 belay

...and I opted to walk up the less direct way :) I took Bella and started on my hike.

I gathered that it would be quite a little walk, but had no idea what to expect. I'm still not sure how I would rate it. Hike? Walk? It was nearly all climbing, but most of it had clearly been graded recently. In some spots I could see where the trail had been- it looked pretty rough! Some spots would have been difficult with a messenger bag (I had only decided to hike instead of ride for a second day after we had left, so I didn't have a proper bag) and a dog that tugged at her leash the entire way.

(The entire way.)


As it was, the path was about 4' wide and had nicely structured hairpin corners as it climbed higher.


Where water crossed the path, there were rocky dips in the trail, with stepping stones over it.


Toward the top it got a little gnarlier, but I could still get along just fine with one hand full.


About an hour in or so (the best weekends are ones in which you never have to look at a clock) I reached the top. The trail started sloping downward, and I got a little skeptical. There had been a bunch of beaten trails going off this way or that, and now the trail was sloping downward- was this a loop, and had I missed a turn, missing the overlook on top of Looking Glass? I asked someone and they confirmed that the overlook was just a little ways more down the trail.

When I did find it, it was clear. When I stepped out into the sun, the first thing I saw was an expanse of rock that seemed to slide off into nothing, and right at eye level a vulture was soaring on thermals of warm air that breezed past me. Vultures soaring usually happen above your head, and far, far off. I had been hiking through dense cover, and though I obviously knew I had been climbing, I didn't know just how high I had gotten. For lack of a more original thought, it was cool!

I gave Bella some water and tied her up in the shade. I saw the drop off and wanted to explore, and the thought of Bella tugging or tangling her leash had me tying her up immediately.


Then I went and crept to the edge. But it wasn't the edge. As soon as you stood where you had thought the edge was, you could see more smooth rock dropping off.

For instance, here's me standing at the top and aiming the camera to the left.


Walk down a little, and this is your view to the left.


Likewise, this water channel looks like it drops off:


But when you get to the 'edge' you find this.


This is looking back up (yes, I'm trying to give you vertigo).


I think that's about as far as I went! It was steep. And scary. I took this photo of myself (let's not dignify it with 'self portrait') looking down the rock.

Looking down Looking Glass

Recently some friends of mine were making jokes about someone who had taken photos of himself on his bike tour using a timer... I did not join in. Yeah, it's goofy. But as someone who loves to take [bad] photos of just about everything and everyone, I get bummed that I have all these photos of the people around me doing these fun activities, or funtivities, but very few of ME doing them, other than the icky at-arm's-length riding-my-bike-along photos.

Goofy: yes. Punishable: no. I support taking photos of oneself.

Also in conclusion: It's as I suspected. North Carolina's got a lot of great things to see and experience.

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