|Hike Name:||Mount Mitchell State Park - Big Tom|
|Trip Date:||October 20, 2000|
|Trail Conditions:||Fair to Good|
|Trip Weather:||Sunny, Partly Sunny, Cloudy|
|Trip Precipitation:||Rain, Showers|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 61-70, Low: 31-40 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||10/20/00: We took the roundabout way to Mt. Mitchell, going first from Charlotte to Ashville then up NC 80 to the Parkway. Left ALE’s by 9:00am and picked The Camel up within 15 minutes, but we did not arrive at the summit of Mt. Mitchell until almost 1:30pm. Saw a female park ranger who tipped us off on a great camping area and loop hike. Did a quick tour of the summit, then hit the trail by mid-afternoon. The hiking is spectacular along the ridge of the Black Mountains. The fir forest looks a lot like those on the AT in New England. We met about 10 hikers on the ridge this afternoon and all were headed to Deep Gap. However, The Camel and I broke off at Trail 191A and headed to Maple Camp for the night. Got water at a stream at the junction of Trail 191. Three other backpackers were at the bald when we arrived around 6pm but they chose to camp near the trail, out-of-site and below us this evening. The temps were chilly tonight bottoming out at 36.4 degrees around 1:15am, but a fleece worked well around the campfire. Clouds were dominate today, but the sun poked through occasionally. By night, the sky cleared for a few hours and the stars were plentiful. A few rain drops pelted us at sunset, but they were never enough to grab the raincoat. Fell asleep next to the campfire sometime after 11pm.
10/21/00: Cooked a leisure breakfast this am after The Camel woke me up around 8:30am. Hit the trail within two hours, and hiked the Buncombe Horse Trail #191 to within 1.6 miles of the summit. The horse trail was a nice hike with little change in elevation, but the final 1.6 mile push to Mt. Mitchell was a bitch. We gained about 1000 feet but it seemed like 2000 feet. The summit was mobbed again today with the tourist crowd. The camping area at Commissary Hill probably was as well. Finding the bald was a major coo.
The Camel and I hit the road by 3pm and drove through Hickory for the return trip. It went much faster, and we made it back to Charlotte by 5:30pm. All said, this was a great trip. I’d come back here any time.