We are so fortunate to have a couple of National Parks in our area and with my Senior Citizen pass it is an economical way to get exercise. I had heard of the Billy Goat trail but wasn't determined to try it until someone casually said, "it's not your grandmother's trail."
I am immature enough to take that as a challenge. But I do have some common sense, and waited until one of my hiking groups posted the hike and I could see that some of us grandparents had signed up for it.
And what a challenge it is. The first mile is spent getting to the entrance of the trail. My concern grew because a park ranger was at the trail head making sure everyone had hiking boots, water, phone, and knowledge of the emergency exits. Yikes!
I kept up with the group for about 10 minutes. Then we hit our first major scramble. I had 2 hiking sticks. Each step required placement of both sticks. Some members of the group were confidently moving from rock to rock. I told the leader to not worry about my lagging. It was a loop; I could find my way out; and I had enough common sense to use an emergency exit if needed.
This photo shows the placement of the blue blaze markers. On the rocks!
Nope, she stayed with me through half of it because she knew there was a wall to climb. The group took a 30 minute lunch break halfway through; I caught up during its last minute.
I finished it finally. Pretty tired with trembling legs and a long scratch from one of the boulders that I descended by sitting on my butt and sliding.
But that wasn't enough. I wanted to do it again. Why? My hiking group rarely stops to just enjoy the scenery. On the rare occasion a member does, they can easily run to catch up.
I waited through winter for a chance to do it again, this time to stop on my time and my needs to see beauty, without worrying that I was holding the group back.
The unique combination of weather, time, and weekday finally came.
I was just as exhausted when I finished this time. But my soul was so much more nourished. I could stop and see the water life, hear the birds' songs in the trees, stop atop the higher rocks to just feel the awe.
Yes! This is your grandmother's trail.