Although we’d had plans made for the past few weeks already, I was pretty pleased when I saw that our weekend getaway to the NC mountains aligned with Charlotte’s first (of what will hopefully not be TOO many) 100 degree days. This particular escape was one of my favorite types of trips – a hybrid family/climbing/hiking weekend that makes for all sorts of fun and variety.
After enjoying a gorgeous Grandfather Mountain view with our morning coffee, the CragDaddy and I headed up to the Linville Gorge for a “crag-date” at Hawksbill Mountain. (Thank you to Bebe and Papa Joe for entertaining both kiddos!) On his agenda was Tips Ahoy 12d, while I had my eyes on Line of Fire 12c. A long term goal of mine is to systematically work my way through the 5.12 wall, and I’d saved Line of Fire for AFTER Tips Ahoy (more here on that send), because I knew it would push me out of my comfort zone a bit. Even though grade-wise it’s a letter grade easier, both Line of Fire cruxes are bouldery and powerful – loooooong moves requiring some dynamic movement. Bouldering and moving dynamically are things that I am decidedly NOT good at, so I envisioned having a harder time with this one.
I’d gotten on it once before, the same day that I’d sent Tips Ahoy, and to be honest, was not optimistic that a send was gonna happen any time soon. But my first run up went really well, and I had no trouble getting the draws in bolt to bolt. My second go was SO close – I was clean all the way to the upper crux, when I came up just short of the glory jug 2 moves from the anchors. And as it turns out, my second go was also my BEST go…I tried 2 more times, and each time I nailed the first crux, but then fell a few moves later.
Wish I would have sent, but to be honest, I’m just psyched it feels doable, because I thought some of the individual moves were going to give me a lot of trouble. Plus, since CragDaddy didn’t send either, we now BOTH have an excuse to get back up there sooner rather than later!
Next morning we drove back to the Linville area, this time with the whole family, and this time to visit the falls. We started out hiking along the “tour de overlooks” on the rim of the gorge. Beautiful, yes, but also a little crowded. We then decided to check out the view along the bottom of the gorge. This hike was longer and much more strenuous, but the view from the bottom was breathtaking. A picnic lunch followed by a dip in the clear, cold mountain water made the extra effort worthwhile!
By the time we got back to our car, we had two exhausted kiddos, the younger of which was growing crankier and more desperate for a nap by the minute. We assumed she’d fall asleep on the way to our next stop, Linville Caverns, but she didn’t get that memo. We next thought she’d crash in a babywearing nap as we toured the cave…wrong again. After what seemed like hours (but was really 15 minutes) of constant wrangling and screaming, Baby Zu and I bowed out of our tour and hung out in a patch of shade while the rest of the family finished up. I’d say the caverns were a bust….except that Big C loved EVERY minute of it!!! He has not stopped talking about all the “cool things he saw underground.”
We wrapped up the evening with some live music back in Blowing Rock, and dinner at a family favorite – Mellow Mushroom. We came down off the mountain with exhausted bodies but happy hearts. When we pulled into the driveway, it felt great to be home; but then I stepped outside into the heat and humidity…summer is here folks!