Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Highpoint of North Carolina: Mount Mitchell

It rained last night, hard. I woke up and listened to the local weather forecast on my MP3 player. The forecast, although for Charlotte, was not good. It called for rain all day. I packed up my campsite in a heavy rain and reluctantly hit the trail. I had considered just skipping the hike up Mount Mitchell, but decided that I'd driven way too far to wuss out. My rain jacket was soaked by the time I hit the actual trail in the closed campground. The hike started with an ascent right off the bat and the climbing did not let up. After about two hours I made it up into the spruce and balsam zone and knew I would soon reach the summit.

Conditions on summit were miserable.
The only positive was that I had the whole place to myself. No one else was crazy enough to brave the cold, wind and rain for no view. I quickly put on my hat and gloves, snapped the obligatory summit photo, then headed back down to more hospitable conditions. After a short while conditions improved. About 1/3 of the way down the mountain the sun even peeked through the clouds. Hiking actually became a bit pleasant and the downhill made for quick walking. I did have to avert the attack of a killer tree along the way though.

I made it back to the car just after noon. I changed into more comfortable (and drier) shoes then hit the road. Since I had some extra time, I had some investigating I wanted to do. Last night on my way to the campground I passed through a small town and noticed some forest service signs. One was for a campground, the other for a picnic area. Attached to the picnic area sign was another sign that read Andrews Geyser. A geyser in North Carolina? Why had I never heard of such a thing? My curiosity had gotten the better of me. I was headed to Andrews Geyser.

The geyser itself turned out to be an interesting surprise. It is not a real geyser. It is really just a fountain that shoots a spout of water high into the air.
Andrew's Geyser
It looks kind of like a real geyser though, and is certainly one of the more interesting offbeat tourist attractions that I've ever seen.

1 comment:

Ascentionist said...

I'm jealous! I have wanted to go to Mount mitchell for a couple years now. Despite having moved to where bigger mountains reign (pun intended) I still would love to hike in the Black Mountains.