|Hike Name:||Mount Mitchell State Park - Maple Camp|
|Trip Date:||May 12, 2001|
|Trail Conditions:||Fair to Good|
|Trail Traffic:||Light to Moderate|
|Trip Weather:||Sunny, Partly Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Cloudy, Fog|
|Trip Winds:||Light to Moderate|
|Trip Precipitation:||Rain, Showers|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 71-80, Low: 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||5/12/01: The Operator, The Helmet and Doughgirl met at BirdShooter's house and left Atlanta at 8:20. Arrived in Marion NC and met up with Sister, ALE and Pocohontas. Parked one car at the Hemlock campground and then took two cars to the summit of Mount Mitchell. Weather was overcast & rainy – enough to keep the tourists away. After getting everyone’s packs loaded and the dogs situated, we hit the trail at 2:20. Due to the dense fog, we opted for the lower trail.
Trail conditions were good at first, but eventually hit heavy mud that left several of us with wet shoes. Passed a couple of sites already full with campers, so we headed on to the bald. Stopped and loaded up on water ¼ mile from the bald. Arrived at the bald at 5:20 and found windy, but dry conditions. Good burnable wood was scarce, but we were able to bogart some good wood left behind by some previous campers.
Food and wine was plentiful in the evening. A whirlwind of dog activity provided some good entertainment. While the brush surrounding our campsite provided some decent protection from the wind. Finally went to bed at around midnight. Evening hilites included a double boot and a fireside altercation regarding the camp bathroom area. Neither of these events did much to hurt the groove factor.
5/13/01: Took our time waking up in the morning. Those who were not hungover had a simple breakfast (granola bars, bagels, oatmeal). The weather was great – blue skies and sunshine. Packed up and hit the trail at 11:00. Upon leaving the campsite we split into two parties. The Operator, The Helmet, Sister and Doughgirl took the upper scenic (and more strenuous) ridge trail. While mostly up hill and strenuous, this trail provided some excellent views. Upon arriving at the summit at around 1:30, we found the picnic area to be very nice and the parking lot full of tourists. From here we drove back down to the Hemlock camping area to meet up with the rest of our group. ALE, BirdShooter and Pocohontas looked to avoid difficult climbing and took the lower trail. Downed trees, a hurting knee (ALE) and an Ankle sprain (BirdShooter) made this for a rather unpleasant hike. Fortunately, the walkie-talkies made life a little easier and BirdShooter sent out an SOS call for help and requested to be picked up by car.
After swapping some war stories of our respective hikes, we loaded up the cars and headed for home. Most everyone stopped at McDonalds for a late lunch, but the Helmet and Doughgirl opted for some barbeque.