Monday, May 28, 2007

Mt. Mitchell Trail

"The climbing begins immediately," said our guidebook about the Mt. Mitchell trail. It should also have said, "it doesn't stop climbing for 5.7 miles." This is what much of the trial looks like near the trailhead at Black Mountain Campground.

We were a bit "dewy" and after only 45 minutes.

The rhododendrons were in bloom, which gave us some reward for our toils.

Things got cooler and less humid after we climbed past the hardwood zone. This little area in a Spruce forest was a great spot for a picnic.

I don't know what insect made this, but it looks pretty cool. Click on the image to see the detailed weaving.

I like lichens.

Much of the trail looked like this, when it wasn't covered with loose stones. It's a challenge not only because it's relentlessly uphill (then downhill), but because you have to pay attention to every foot placement.

This meadow is about 1000 vertical feet below the summit, and is a great spot for campers.

Though most of the trail is heavily forested, the switchbacks across a cut for power lines gave us nice vistas. Almost to the top!

And here' s the view at the summit! The place was swarming with late-middle-aged bikers for Jesus who all seemed to be doing their best Paul Teutul Sr. imitations.

Obviously, they didn't hike to the summit.

But they were nice. We thought about asking them to give us a ride to the bottom, since we were already footsore from the ascent. But we slogged back down on foot, with Sam setting us a very brisk pace.

We agreed that the pleasure-to-effort ratio on this hike is fairly low: a very difficult trail with a few vistas and no interesting water features or caves. But we're glad we did it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that trail on Mt. Mitchell!

Hi Dr. Wharton, and family...

This is Stephanie from your Latin Class!

I hope you guys are having a great summer, and it looks like you all are putting some miles on the Subaru--fun!


(Andy told Michael about your blog, but I have never had the time to read it--darned Latin Prof's and their homework! ;) )