Backpacking Mount Mitchell: when you start at the top, there’s nowhere to go but down (and up, and down)
My sister Laura and I hoisted on our backpacks atop 6,684-foot Mt. Mitchell — the highest point east of the Mississippi River — and lumbered 4.5 miles north along a ridge to a camping spot at Deep Gap. While the hike along the Black Mountain Crest (aka Deep Gap) trail was not horizontally challenging, we did find ourselves navigating a lot of steep vertical change.
Though we were away from “civilization” for only 24 hours, we managed to see a lot:
The hike took us up and over Mount Craig (at 6,647 feet, the SECOND highest peak east of the Mississippi), Big Tom, Cattail Peak and a place called Potato Hill.
One of the highest and most bio-diverse landscapes in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell State Park contains more than 65 rare plant species.
A couple especially steep spots required the assistance of rope.
Just past prime, but still pretty.
Wood like bone.
Butterfly closed… NBD.
Butterfly open… WHAT?!?!
Translation: sweat the small stuff, not the bears.
On top of Big Tom, named for Thomas “Big Tom” Wilson, a famous guide and bear hunter who found the body of Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 1857. That’s all the plaque said, so that’s all I know.
We managed to not dress in identical outfits on this trip. It’s the small victories we celebrate.
How do you make sure no one sets up a tent right beside yours? Act weird and take up space!
Losing at gin (While optimistic, aiming for a seven-card run is not a winning strategy.)
The solitaire that followed the gin.
When epicureans go camping…
(Also: Heat-and-serve Tasty Bites are perfect for when your campsite is miles away from a water source.)
Laura thoroughly enjoyed her insulated mug of jaipur vegetables and jasmine rice. She also thoroughly enjoys this vest.
The winds blew strong all night, and clouds swirled around the summits we passed over on the hike out in the morning.
Lichen on a tree trunk.