I christened a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline ASR trail shoes. I seem to do well with a minimalist approach to footwear, while others on the trail opt for heavy, ankle high hiking boots. The early sections of Profile offered good footing but the ascents started early. I hit mile 1 in 20 minutes, mile 2 in 25 minutes, and a tough mile 3 in 27 minutes. I was a bit cocky in my mind, then the party was over.
The next sections were brutal. Large rock formations were mostly straight up. Some transitions over the rocks intimidated me. A slip could have been bad and to my right was the sheer expanse of the mountain.
I made the Profile intersection with Grandfather Trail and opted to make a push for the suspension bridge atop Grandfather. I journeyed forward into new tough sections that featured secured ladders from rock to rock.
Here's the rub: Master competitor is afraid of heights and I knew that near the top of the mountain, some hairy sections awaited. So mind over matter needed to prevail. I didn't have a big enough pair to take Grandfather's route to the "ladder climbs" where one traverses exposed ledges and relies on guide cables. Instead, I took the interior Underwood Trail, still a tough pull but an alternative to being literally on the edge.
There were most excellent primitive camping platforms at key locations along the trail. After my Yurt outing in Alaska, I am enamored with backpacking into remote camping locations. If I can find used equipment, you can be sure I'll be back for overnighters.
I made the crest at the suspension bridge (approximately 6 miles) in 2.5 hours. I enjoyed a light lunch while visiting with one of the park guides. After refilling my Nathan hydration pack at the new visitor center, it was time to descend. I felt a bit more at ease and less uptight on the way down. Two hours and 14 minutes later, I was back at the car.
Doing Profile to the top of Grandfather makes for a complete day. I bought a big bag of fresh fruit and vegetables on the way home. Now it's time to fuel the engine and rest...need to get up at 4 am and drive to my metric century bike ride tomorrow.