Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina (State Highpoint #11)

Sassafras Mountain (3,560') July 2009

Drove up and parked.
Directions:  Route 178 (from I-85) to the town of Rocky Bottom to Road 199 (or F. Van Clayton Highway). Drive 5 miles up hill, park and follow a small path the rest of the way.  (This highpoint was much easier to find than anticipated.)
Visited this highpoint with Rich.  The welcome sign was broken and hard to read but we walked up the dirt road to the knoll and reached a construction site for installation of a cell tower. 

Not what we were expecting at a state highpoint.

We weren't sure where the highpoint was but had Zumwalts highpointing guide and used the description to verify we were in the right place (namely a rusty braided wire coming out of a tree).

Over the years this wire became part of the tree.
Same tree. Over Rich's shoulder is a path to a partial view.
The large tower was lying inches away from the USGS marker.
A few photos later we walked back to the car and left.
In 2010 the land was transferred and is under the care of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.   The area has been cleaned up and is home to a new monument. 

Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina (State High Point #10)

Mt. Mitchell (6,683') via Old Mitchell Campground Spur and Mt. Mitchell trails, July 2009 (REVISITED 2019)

Mileage: 3ish miles RT

Elevation gain:  unknown  (probably 1,000')

Trailhead:  From Asheville, take the Blue Ridge Parkway north for 27 miles to the entrance for Mount Mitchell State Park.  Turn left, on NC 128. Park just past the gated entrance, at the Park Office.

Note: This highpoint is a "drive up" as well.  If you continue past the Park Office, the road ends at a parking lot.  There is a 1/4 mile walk on a paved path to the summit.

Hiked this state highpoint with Rich.  Our original plan was to hike the Mt. Mitchell trail from the Black Mountain campground but we were having a leisurely vacation and balked at the idea of a 5.5 mile (one way) jaunt.   So instead we parked on the road to the summit (by the restaurant) and headed up the Old Mitchell Campground trail. 

Footing was good as we passed through clear and then wooded areas.  It was cool and foggy, not at all the hot July weather we were expecting.  But the conditions made for a comfortable walk up through the woods (there was nothing tricky about this trail). 

The trail spit us out onto a paved walkway to the overlook.

Conditions were no less foggy when we got to the walkway near the summit platform.  There would be no view today. A few hearty souls were milling around in sweatshirts.

The structure. In the foreground is the grave of Elisha Mitchell.

USGS marker is on this map by the "W." (Original one is not accessible.)

A very nice state high point, well maintained.
Retracing our steps we got back to the car in no time.  On to the next highpoint on our four-state-highpointing vacay. 

If interested in hiking to Mt. Mitchell  - trail from Black Mountain campground. (11 miles RT, 3600' gain).