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The Phantom Hiker

Located near the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. More than 12 miles of trails sprawl across Grandfather Mountain State Park, and some say a phantom hiker roams the park’s challenging terrain.

The sightings

Legend has it the phantom hiker appears just before dusk, when most visitors are leaving. He’s an older man with a grizzled beard and a weathered appearance. He wears old-fashioned work clothes and a canvas army backpack. In one hand, he clutches a long, wooden walking stick. The mysterious figure never speaks to other hikers or responds to any greeting. He simply walks quickly past before abruptly vanishing from sight.

Here’s how one witness describes his encounter with the phantom hiker:

“As we headed along the trail in the direction of the upper parking lot, a tall gruff fellow with a craggy face and a beard hiked past us. He was wearing old-fashioned clothing and had a rough sort of pack on his back. He didn’t look at us as he approached, and did not acknowledge our nods of greeting as he passed us. He must be hiking all the way down to the bottom of the mountain. Which was just plain foolish, because there was no way he could reach the trail head before dusk. My friend nudged me as the man passed us and said: ‘He’ll never make it to the bottom before dark. We should offer him a ride to his car.’ I nodded and we both turned to call to the hiker. 

He had vanished. I stared blankly at the wide-open, rocky surface of the mountain. The tree line was at least five hundred feet away on all sides. Where had the hiker gone?”AmericanFolklore.net

Alarmed, the men reported the strange incident to a park ranger, but no one found the man or evidence of a missing hiker.

Who is he?

So who is the phantom hiker? Is it the embodiment of Grandfather Mountain himself? No one knows, but some guess he is the ghost of man who died on the mountain decades ago. Perhaps the man got lost and succumbed to the elements. Perhaps he was injured or fell from a cliff. Perhaps his undiscovered remains lie somewhere off-trail. Or maybe the phantom hiker is a man who loved Grandfather Mountain so much he chose to spend the afterlife there.

Have you had a strange encounter while hiking? Share your story here.

The post The Phantom Hiker first appeared on Ghosts and Ghouls.
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by cnkguy
The Phantom Hiker

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