|Hike Name:||Mount Mitchell State Park - Maple Camp|
|Trip Date:||October 15, 2005|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 41-50, Low: 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||Country Club and I left the lower parking lot and hiked 1.5 miles to Big Tom and Big Pine mountains along the tree line and we had excellent views to the west. You will notice a lot of dead trees due to the Wolly Adelged infestation and the flora is more like Canada than N.C. here due to the elevation. From Big Tom, we hiked another 0.5 miles and took the side trail (191A) another 0.5 miles heading east/southeast to the Commissary Trail (or Buncombe Horse Trail). Turn left or east for a side-hike to Maple Camp Bald which has excellent views. When in season, this is the best place I have found to pick blueberries and wild raspberries. (It’s loaded!) Maple Camp Bald also has excellent views of Mt. Mitchell to the south and a panorama to the east.
To complete the loop, continue on the Commissary Trail heading south for another three miles on a gentle grade which was soggy during our hike until we reached the Mt. Mitchell Trail. There are plenty of camping spots here and the area is well worn, but I have no idea why people camp in this area since there are much better campsites a short distance away. From this point, climb the 1.6 mile Mt Mitchell loop back to the parking area. It is steep, but it takes you through a fir forest and it’s a pleasant way to finish the hike. It was extremely windy during our hike today (especially on the summit) but Country Club Jim and I enjoyed it.