Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Springtime in Appalachia

Mt. Mitchell
Highest Point East of the Mississippi
Highest Peak in the Appalachian Mountains
6,578 to 6,684 ft elevation
1/4 mi trail to Summit (~11% grade)

Recently we had the opportunity to enjoy Springtime in Appalachia. The redbuds were out everywhere, and the dogwoods were coming out at the lower elevations. Our visit wouldn't have been complete without conquering a peak while we were there.

Fortunately, that proved rather easy to do. The highest peak in North Carolina, the Appalachians, and east of the Mississippi is Mount Mitchell in the Black Mountains subchain. The Blue Ridge Parkway takes one to Mount Mitchell State Park; a 300-m-long trail takes one to the summit at 6, 684 ft. An observation deck was recently (re)built, opening in Jan of this year.

Heck, this one was so easy, my nearly 74-year-old father was able to accompany me and do a little "hiking for hope."

And of course, I was slower than him!

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook
(looking toward Table Rock, NC).

Same view, higher up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Licklog Ridge. No kidding.

Looking toward Table Rock from Licklog Ridge Overlook.

Think this tree sees some wind?

Looking toward Tri-Cities from the parking lot.

Parking lot panorama.

We were blessed with a beautiful day; a jacket was enough.

Still icy up here. Should've videotaped those ice polliwogs!

A very easy summit (but good for my lungs nonetheless).

Looking toward Tri-Cities (TN-VA border).

Looking toward the ENE: Spruce Pine to Table Rock et al.

Looking toward the ESE: Lake James to Marion, NC.

Looking WSW toward the Smoky Mtns of East Tennessee;
Clingman's Dome in the distance.

Looking down at the trail. Very easy and nice.

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