Reclaiming the word Edgy

Edgy on Lookout Rock in Montreat


Yesterday, I led a hike in Montreat Wilderness.

OK, so it’s not really very wild but it has 2,500 acres set aside in perpetuity for hiking and exploration. Though Montreat Conference Center is private, it allows the public to visit and hike on their land.

Our first destination was Lookout Rock – see me in the top picture.

It was a good climb from Lake Susan and the group wandered all over the rocks, admiring the views and taking pictures from its edge. They were being edgy.

That is the original and true meaning of the word, edgy.

On the edge doesn’t mean being nude, using four letter words or getting high. On the edge means walking on a narrow precipice or cliff. I don’t have fear of heights but I have to use all my concentration to negotiate this edge until the trail widens. That is risk taking behavior, not getting drunk or sitting at home smoking or inhaling some chemical.

The media has taken the word edgy and coopted it to mean outrageous, but physically very safe, behavior. Most people don’t behave outrageously. They are content to sit on their couches, eating chips and dips and watch others having behave ridiculously.

Cooking shows are now using edgy chefs. As people cook less and less, they watch more cooking shows, not realizing that all the food is prepared ahead of time.

For most walkers, including the two other people on Lookout Rock, this is the extent of their Montreat hike. But we continued on the E. Ridge Trail and Mt. Mitchell Trail to Pot Cove Gap. After lunch, we went down to the Trestle Trail and walked on the new Greybeard Trail. The switchbacks on the new trail have been beautifully graded. For that, we have the Montreat trail crew to thank.

Montreat hike - waterfallWe had wonderful views of the mountains and crossed a minor waterfall. Montreat hike - from switchback trailTo my surprise, we saw three young men on dirt bikes come roaring on the trail – illegally, of course. They may have thought they were edgy but they couldn’t cross the small waterfall that we had crossed handily, so they turned around as soon as they could maneuver their bikes.

Lookout Rock - group photo

Below is a picture of our Carolina Mountain Club group – none under 50 and some much, much older.

I’d love to take some of these passive folks, teens and adults, alike who watch edgy reality shows and take them on a short hike, just to Lookout Rock.


Almost all would be able to get to the rock eventually. But would they enjoy it? Would they be willing to go on to a full-day hike? Or would they want to go back to their edgy show?

For all outdoor people – hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and others, I reclaim the word edgy. Let’s climb a mountain and walk on its edge.



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