Lynn and I awoke refreshed from our night at the Super 8 in Asheville and were both hangry. (A mixture of hungry & angry) A quick trip across the street to the Waffle House cured the hanger. The restaurant was very clean with great service.
Our original plan was to hike Big Butt, another nice 10 pointer and a longer hike, then hit Mt Mitchell since it was a short trail and a 10 pointer. The Summit guides were conflicting for Big Butt and we did not have detailed maps with us. A lesson learned the hard way. In the future I will be using CalTopo to create a PDF to take with me a review a little more ahead of time, but I digress. The guides referred to Yellow Blaze on the trail from the Walker Knob overlook/parking area. The trail crosses the road and neither guide gave a direction of travel, nor the side of the road to use. There were at least 4 paths there all with white blaze circles or diamonds. We picked one and used my GPS, which did not have detailed local sections. After a tenth of a mile it appeared we were heading in the correct general direction with a heading for two peaks we had to cross to get to Big Butt. After a few switch backs we figured we were heading the wrong way, but the trail was so nice we just kept going. We had a very strenuous climb to an upper ridge line. The whole ridge smelled like Christmas Trees. There was an abundance of Spruce and Fir Trees. Cool looking mushrooms and ground cover so nice you would have thought you were at a manicured garden. Without a doubt the prettiest and most enjoyable hike of my life thus far. My wife calls it the fairy tale forest. There were some incredible views from the ridge. You could really see the affects of the wooly adelgids, which have killed so many trees.
We arrived at the summit at an elevation of 6,320′. Unfortunately it was not a SOTA summit, but a hike I do not regret at all. We had lunch up top and headed back down. You’ll be shocked to know it rained on us coming down. What an amazing hike. I need to check the track for the distance, but I am guessing this was easily a 6 mile round trip.
Pics from Blackstock Knob
We headed out excited and wet to Mt. Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi river at 6,684′
The trail round trip from the visitors center is only 0.60 mile, but is a little steep. I found a little cozy opening in the trees past the crowded viewing area. My antenna was only about 6′ above the ground. I made 2 contacts on 40 meters and 11 QSO’s on 20 meters.
The summit was shrouded in clouds by the time we headed down, but it did not rain on us coming down.
Our travels then took us to Green Knob. This was a short but steep hike to a forestry service tower at the summit. Lots of biting bugs and ants. I suspended the apex of the antenna at about 8′ from a cross brace of the tower. We had lots of thunder and dark clouds around us. I scrambled and managed to get five logged contacts on 20 meters.
I broke things down quickly with Lynn’s help and got back to the truck with just a few sprinkles. We had ice cold water in the cooler and an afternoon snack. The day was just amazing. We headed back into town for a great dinner, then called it a night. What a great day.