Wednesday, April 30, 2008

North Carolina

Date of summit: Thursday - April 24, 2008

Mountain: Mt. Mitchell

Summit Elevation: 6,684 feet

We set out on our spring break for an Appalachian adventure. Our goal was to hike to the high point in each of six states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. We planned 4 days for the 1,500 mile road trip that would include up to 23 miles of hiking. Each state will get its own post. Unfortunately, you won't find one for Kentucky because we ran out of time and didn't make it! We came home happy (and exhuasted) though with 5 state high points.

Mt. Mitchell was the first high point on our Appalachian adventure and the 4th overall high point we have visited.

After camping on the shore of Lake Norman (just north of Charlotte) we drove 2 1/2 hours on windy mountain roads including the famed Blue Ridge Parkway until we arrived at the visitor's center of Mt. Mitchell. Not only is Mt. Mitchell the highest point in North Carolina, it is also the highest point East of the Mississippi River

From the visitor's center there is a road that you can drive up to 1/4 mile of the summit. We opted to hike the 5 mile round-trip from the visitor's center. We really wanted to earn this one since it was the first on our Appalchian quest.

The hike was steep and the weather was great! Some clouds kept us out of the sun and the temperature hung around 55 degrees F. We're glad we did these in April before it gets really hot. The actual summit was blocked off by a gate because they are building an observation deck up there. From the parking lot on top to the proposed observation deck is only a quarter mile or so. There were no construction workers or rangers around so we went under the gate and got to the top. There was a Korean couple from California trying to get all the high points too. They came with us to the summit.

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