Monday, April 12, 2010

Mount Mitchell Day Hike with Ms. Arcen and Die Bluder Hunden

Saturday morning Ms. Arcen, Die Bluder Hunden(Zoo and Rommel) and I headed up to the Blue Ridge for Mt. Mitchell. The parkway was closed north of HWY80 and there was plenty of visible damage to the trees from this past winter's ice storms on the 16 mile section south to the Mitchell Park entrance. Snow was apparent on the shadowy spots of the mountain above 5,500ft. We decided to hike out the Deep Gap North Trail with no particular goal in mind other than mountain transfer. As soon as we descended into the evergreen forest off of Mitchell that transfer began with one of the most powerful natural smells that I ever remember experiencing in the woods. Intoxicating was the fragrance of the essence of our natural mountain surroundings. The spruce and other varieties of needle bearing trees were shredded and littering not only the trail but the surrounding forest and mountain side. It was as if we were in a pine pillow walking from one end of it to the other. Our foot travel over Mt. Craig was slowed but not stopped by the debris left after a very brutal winter. There were some interesting snow tongues to cross as well. In spots the snow was a meter deep, 3-5 meters wide and sometimes running so far down the mountain we could not see where they ended.

After Craig we descended again and worked our way through the not so clear trail. A few of the steep downs were sketchy but in what felt like no time we reached Big Tom, our second peak of the day. We turned around at that point and started the walk back for Craig then Mitchell. On the backside of Mt. Craig we found a nice spot on top of Tug Rock for an afternoon lunch of Brown Pretzels, Strawberries, Almonds and a waffle. It was an interesting day on a familiar mountain that has had a big winter. Besides all of the ice problems Mitchell recorded over 60" of snow this winter season.

Check out this map with Big Tom to the right.
Now here it is in the real. Big Tom behind and to the right of Mt. Craig.
More perspective.
In the woods just off of Mitchell the trail looked like it had been bombed. Notice the deep snow under the broken spruce limbs.
Die Bluder Hund Rommel
Text book technique for descending snow covered trail in April.
Yes Bluder Hunden, we have to walk across that snow to get where we are going.
Bluder Hund Zoo acknowledges her love of snow eating.
We named this 'Tug' Rock and on the way back later in the afternoon stopped here for our picnic.
More snow on the trail.
Sitting on Big Tom Summit child and Bluder Hund hear something coming up the trail.
Out of the forest into a clearing.
On the way back in we stopped at Tug Rock for a lunch break and to water for die Bluders...
Way off in the distance you can see the parking lot of Mt. Mitchell State Park where we came from.
Then Ms. Arcen played with the camera while I packed up.
She does have an eye
for subject matter.
Rommel stood on my foot for a minute.
Clear trail and new stone stairs since I was there last.
Another snow crossing before we climbed up onto Mitchell again.
After our hike we walked up to the top of the Tower on Mitchell's summit. The view was fascinating from the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Ms. Arcen looked back towards Big Tom where we were not long ago and pointed to the thin line of trail over Craig. She immediately recognized the two perspectives.


jeff said...

Makes me want to get off the road and go exploring.

spokejunky said...

Great pics. Our family cabin sits on Walnut Ridge between Unaka and Asheville. You can sit in the living room and see the approach up to Mt. Mitchell. Love, love, love that area. Been to the Colorado Rockies, Bavarian, Swiss, Italian and Austrian Alps. Mt. Mitchell and surrounding kicks all of them to the curb IMHO.