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Black Mountains Tour

No foray into Appalachia should overlook the opportunity to scale the highest peak east of the Mississippi.  Here we have Mt. Mitchell, situated in the Black Mountain range in Western North Carolina.  Known for the Spruce trees which grow in the last couple of thousand feet nearing the summits of the multiple peaks in this range, the spruce give the mountains a rather blackish color as compared to surrounding mountains.  The color, from which the range is named, can be seen in satellite maps and even by driving by from a distance. 


Mt. Mitchell

No Eastern US hiking itinerary would be complete without a visit to Mt. Mitchell, NC. Mt. Mitchell is the highest of a chain of mountains called the Black Mountains, located just northwest of Asheville, NC. At 6684 ft. Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak in the US, east of the Mississippi river. When Andre Michaux and Elisha Mitchell explored the Black Mountains in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they documented forests with an extraordinary variety of plant species. Red spruce covered the upper slopes, and Fraser fir dominated the peaks above 6,000 feet. Hardwood forests, including majestic stands of American chestnut, oaks, and hickories, populated the slopes below 5,000 feet, and rhododendron thickets cloaked forest streams. There literally is nowhere...

Panthertown Valley, NC


One of the most unique and unusual locations can be found in western NC, near the city of Cashiers. Many people aren't aware of it, and it's diversity isn't limited to spectacular water falls, granite domes, vegetation that reminds me of Central American rainforest, high mountain bogs and rushing mountain creeks. Panthertown Valley is a must see.

Winter Star Mountain and Deep Gap


"In memory of my faithful, albeit ornery hound Blackjack. I'll miss you, and Craig will miss you... not so much.."


A Winter hike up to one of the highest peaks in the Eastern U.S., rising above 6200 feet, is ranked #22 on the South Beyond 6000 list.  Craig and I, and the dogs decided on a weekend trip up to climb Mt. Mitchell from the North side as the Park Service had closed all the roads to Mt. Mitchell.  We set out on a Friday, arriving well after dark, somewhere near 11PM, deciding to start a hike at that hour and in rather frigid temperatures, we debated on camping right there just inside the woods, where, mind you, you will find a number of attractive campsites, though we didn't scout for water...

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