Filed under: NORTH AMERICA, North Carolina, USA | Tags: appalachia, appalachian trail, blue ridge parkway, highest peak in the east, hikes in north carolina, hikes near asheville, Mount Mitchell, Mt. Mitchell, north carolina hiking
When I asked people in Asheville which mountain I should pick for a good ol’ sweat-breaking hike, the answers varied, but nearly everyone included Mt. Mitchell in their response. So Mt. Mitchell it was. A winding 35 minute drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway later, Ben and I found the mountain and parked a couple miles down from its peak at an information booth. We took some pictures and indulged in an age-old pastime: gathering spare change for the pop machine.
As I drank my Mellow Yellow and reminisced over catchy songs and old Gap commercials with Ben before taking off to the peak, a nasty storm rolled in. I mean, it was menacing. It was Harry Potter dark magic with thick clouds that hid the valley below.
Not prepared to hike in freezing pounding mountain rain, we cowardly decided to just drive to the mountain’s peak instead of hike.
The drive to the top didn’t take long, of course, but the storm continued brewing as we drove and it was at a deafening peak by the time we’d walked to the peak, taken our pictures, bought some souvenir jam, and returned to our car.
We made the way back down the Parkway to Asheville slowly, with caution and good music sound-tracking the gray afternoon. Although you might dismiss a planned hike on Mt. Mitchel due to rain when in the area, I insist: if you have a car, make the drive. It’s eerie…and spectacular.
By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz