South Slope. Asheville.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mount Craig

After determining for sure that I did not make it to the peak of Mount Craig a week ago due to a significant miscalculation on my part, I went back and hiked the Deep Gap Trail once again.  It was Mount Craig or bust!  This time Kade joined me!  Up on Mount Craig, it was at least twenty degrees colder (than in Asheville), and the wind chill made it even colder than that.  Strong wind gusts blew Dippin' Dots-like snow particles right into our faces!  And long before we got to the summit, the bit of snow we saw on the ramp leading down to the picnic area and trail head made me wonder if we could actually make it all the way - thinking about possible ice on rocks at higher elevations, knowing that we'd have to walk up some rocky places.  I knew this from a week earlier!  But we pushed on, and luckily we encountered no dangers.  We never lost our footing, and there was no ice buildup.

When you watch the video, it will put you right there with us.  Grab a heavy coat and scarf!

“The mountains were his masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change.”
Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel    

Mount Craig (altitude 6,647') is the second highest peak in the eastern United States, only 37 feet lower than neighboring Mount Mitchell, the highest peak. Mt. Craig is part of the Mt. Mitchell State Park, surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest. Located on the crest of the Black Mountains, the peak has a lot of exposed rock and is home to some very rare and endangered species of plants and animals which exist nowhere else but the lofty elevations of the Black Mountains.
To reach the Mt. Craig summit, take a two-mile roundtrip hike on the Deep Gap Trail from the picnic area on the summit of Mt. Mitchell. The hike includes a good bit of climbing, but it is not overly strenuous. From atop Mount Craig, you can view much of the southern portion of the Black Mountain Range along with a look back at Mount Mitchell. Look for the Mt. Craig marker on the summit. Since you are on the highest peaks in eastern North America, weather conditions can change rapidly. It is usually at least 15 degrees cooler than the city of Asheville, and the peaks are covered in clouds and fog eight out of ten days.  - Source

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