It was a warm day hovering in the low 60's - great and unusual for January so my husband and I took off for a easy 50 minute hike in Montreat. Or so we thought! The town is home to Montreat College and they have many trails available to the public on their grounds. We headed up Lookout Road and found the parking lot on the right. This trail began off the lower parking lot - Lookout Trail which is longer and termed strenuous begins from the upper lot.
The Rainbow Road Trail is marked well with red diamonds on trees. We hike often and enjoy being outdoors but had not hiked much in the past few months. We headed up on a a easy grade walking through rhododendrons on the north facing slopes. We were a bit suspicious since we were going up in elevation. After walking 30 minutes, my husband suggested heading back down the way we came. Since the hike was supposed to take 50 minutes I figured we were more than half way done so I voted to keep going....the trail kept getting narrower and steeper. By now it had begun to cool off and rain lightly. I had my camera tucked in my fleece jacket for protection.
|Lots of fallen trees over the trail|
|The view as we went higher.|
We met a couple on mountain bikes and they had stopped to ponder which way to go down. I guess she wanted a gradual incline. They suggested a trail down for us that was the more gradual of the two choices. I guess they went the other way since we never met up with them. The trail was still ascending but it at least looked like we were going back in the direction we came from. We reached yet another intersection of trails , completely at a loss as to which one to take even after looking at the map. We chose one and after walking it a bit looked around - both of us realized we had been there before! By now we were tired, hungry, getting wet and 50 minutes had long since passed.
|Looking up the above the trail.|
Thankfully a young couple with two dogs were coming up the trail so we asked them for our bearings. Turns out we had taken the wrong turn and were going back down the way we came up - another hour out of our way. They told us to follow them and they would show us the way. We hated to hold them up. My husband's knee was bothering him so it was slow walking back up even with his walking stick. This sweet couple walked slowly and kept checking on us as we followed them. When we go to the next trail intersection, they had waited for us to make sure we took the correct turn. They even went a little bit on this trail to point us off to another left turn. Bless them or we would still b there going around in circles!
|Finally heading back down!|
I have found that the young people in the mountains are very respectful of their elders and this certainly proves my case. They went well out of their way to make sure we found our way out. The rain began in earnest again and we had a steep descent but not too difficult. I was never so glad to see the car. And this was marked an easy trail! Next time we will stick to the under 30 minute easy hikes until we know them well ourselves.
|The end is near.|