It had been a long time since I had gone on a solo adventure! Today I took my opportunity to do some peak bagging in North Carolina's Black Mountains. I awoke at 6 am, walked the dog and threw my gear into the car for the drive through Weaverville, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and over to Mount Mitchell State Park. I parked the car at the trailhead for the Deep Gap Trail which is also known as the Black Mountain Crest Trail. This trail is where I would spend the vast majority of the next 9+ hours of my life.
The trail started with an easy, well-graded, downhill walk to a gap
I had ascended back in November. Today however, I cruised right past the summit to continue on in my quest to ascend all the 6,000 foot peaks in the southeast. Just past the summit of Mount Craig was a wonderful overlook of the rest of the Black Mountain Range.
From the overlook on Craig I descended to a small col between Craig and Big Tom, and then asended to the summit of Big Tom. Big Tom is named for Big Tom Wilson a mountain man who discovered the body of geologist Elisha Mitchell. I snapped a quick photo of Big Tom
From Balsam Cone it was another descent into a gap and then an ascent up to the false summit of Cattail Peak. There is a sign indicating Cattail Peak just off to the side of the Black Mountain Crest Trail.
From Potato Knob it was a long steep descent
After climbing out of the gap between Winter Star and Gibbs Mountain the views really opened up.
From the summit of Celo Knob I found my way down to the Black Mountain Crest Trail and started heading back to the parking area near Mount Mitchell. I was definitely starting to feel like I had bitten off more than I could chew. I still had a long hike back to the car under increasingly dark sky