The forecast was good for today's weather and I had off for Veteran's Day, so I decided to take advantage of the situation with one last 6,000 footer bagging day for 2013. I made the drive into North Carolina and over to Weaverville. Then I headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway which I followed to Mount Mitchell State Park. I drove the road up to the parking lot near the summit of Mount Mitchell and prepared for my 9 mile hike. I donned my winter hat and mittens under the beautiful blue sky and headed out.
Interestingly, I wasn't quite sure where the trailhead for the hike actually was. I went to the end of the parking lot but only found an interesting CCC monument.
The Old Mitchell Trail made a steady descent through firs and spruces. The air was cold and fresh and smelled like fresh Christmas trees. The air warmed to the point where I no longer needed my hat or mittens. Eventually the trail started to ascend. It climbed quite a bit and then started to descend down to the park entrance road. I realized that Mount Hallback must be a short way off the trail at this point. I found a lightly vegetated slope and climbed it up to a small wooden sign with the peak's name and elevation painted on it.
After a short break on the summit of Hallback I headed back to the trail
The vegetation was pretty thick along my route to the summit of Gibbes. There was a lot of dead and downed timber littering the slope. I bashed through it all for a bit and soon found myself at the top of a ridge. I followed the ridgeline to a rock that appeared to be the highest point around. There were signs near this point showing that it was on the boundary of both the National Forest
I relaxed and ate a snack on the summit. I then took a photo of myself there before retracing my steps along the ridge.
The Commissary Trail was actually a gravel road. The hiking partner that I picked up was a small, female hunting dog outfitted with a radio collar.
The climb up the Camp Alice Trail was pretty steep, but there were a few nice views of Mount Mitchell to distract me.
As I approached the summit of Mount Craig I noticed a sign that directed hikers to stay on the trail to protect fragile plants. The views from the summit area were wonderful