Terrifying 25 – and a bit of trail magic on Mount Morgan and Percival

Went for a solo hike up Mount Morgan and Percival for # I have no idea what on the 52WAV list (I really should start keeping track of these) and learned 3 very important lessons:

  1. If you have a fear of heights, probably best not to solo hike a trail on the Terrifying 25 list (dumb)
  2. It’s also probably not a good idea to break in your brand spankin’ new boots on said terrifying trail (dumb dumb)
  3. And don’t EVER underestimate the little peaks (dumb dee diddy DUMB!)

Oh yes, I underestimated you Mount Morgan as I set out to hike you on Thursday afternoon. Like a hiker version of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, I strutted my way arrogantly up your mountain thinking to myself, “Pfft, there’s no way this trail can be THAT terrifying. I did the Flume Slide AND the Hi-Cannon Ladders AND the East Osceola Chimney no problemo. Surely, it can’t be that bad!”

Turns out it can, as I found myself splatted down – on what I discovered was the top of a rungless ladder – trying to figure out how in the world was I going to get off said ladder and across the rock scramble leading into the first – blessedly safe, albeit claustrophobic – boulder cave.

Somehow it got worse, as I came out on the other side of the cave and realized that (gulp) the exposed, steep slabby ledges ahead of me was the actual trail. I sat down for a moment to collect myself – cursing my genetically predisposed stumpy legs, and really, really wishing I had a friend with me, as I quite literally needed someone to talk me off the ledge.

But at that point there was nowhere to go but up, so I pressed onward and made my way up the ledges with scraped up legs and a bruised ego. As I made the final quivering ascent to Mount Morgan – and with a second Terrifying 25 trail looming ahead on Mount Percival – I once again found myself wishing for a bit of trail magic, and a friend to guide me through.

Trail magic is a term in the hiking community used to describe an unexpected moment or experience that happens when a hiker needs a morale boost or help to keep going forward – and while it’s most typically associated with long distance, thru-hiking – I believe trail magic can happen even on the smallest of trails.

And it did for me at least as I reached the summit of Mount Morgan and met two friendly ladies who invited me to join them on the rest of their hike over to Mount Percival – needless to say, I quickly and gratefully accepted their invitation!

Things got much easier after that, as I fell into a steady rhythm of steps and conversation with my new hiking friends. We reached the second Terrifying 25 trail just off Percival, and together we scrambled our way down cliffs and boulder fields, and took silly photos of eachother as we squeezed through narrow caves.

And what was once terrifying was now a lot of fun, as I learned that some things are just better with friends. 

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