I used to be able to run the thing, back before they put all the new terraced steps in up close to the top. Then again, I haven't been up it in fifteen years. At the beach, you get used to the flat.
The 336 steps start about two-thirds of the way up; the rest varies between 20 degree to 45 degree grade. Steps are 50-ish. The top is all nice weathered outcroppings, chimneys, and rain and wind carved stone valleys in between. There are great trails all over the park, and more ways to get to the summit than the one we took.
Rock troll, anyone?There are some great examples of the plate squeeze play that produced Crowders to start with, where you can begin to imagine the geological squabble that either shoved tons and tons (and tons) of rock out of the way, or folded the really stubborn bits up like laundry.
You can also see why going up on the mountain is a fantastic energy experience, in the liberal doses of quartz and huge boulders full of blue kyanite all over the place.
The top is a 1625 foot elevation, and the view is amazing not just for the 25-odd mile range, but for the spots where you can stand at the edge and look down into 150 foot straight drops.
turkey vultures out riding the thermals, and a gorgeous huge one glided within fifteen feet of our heads, close enough I could see his eyes clearly. He banked off behind the trees before I could get the camera pointed, the bugger. Maybe next time (waves to Mama Vulture in general).
Not my pic, btw - since I missed the shot, I swiped a really gorgeous one off The Vulture Society page.
Now I gotta get him up to Grandfather when the bridge isn't covered in ice and gale winds aren't making horizontal icicles . . . will post the video of that trip across the swinger on another entry, as soon as I figure out what I did with it!
We capped off the day with a bit of Random Coolness in the parking lot: