State Park Entrance 

State Park Entrance 

MOUNT MITCHELL is the king of the Appalachians -- so I had to pay my respects as I traveled south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As a matter of fact, Mt. Mitchell is the tallest peak in the eastern United States, and at 6,684 feet above sea level, it handily beats New Hampshire's Mt. Washington (el. 6288') for that honor -- to the surprise of many people.  As with many Appalachian peaks, the summit is covered with a dense stand of Red spruce and Fraser fir that hide the summit and disguises its impressive stature.

Survey Marker on Mt. Mitchell  

Survey Marker on Mt. Mitchell  

A steep path leads from the parking lot to a summit observation platform that offers views in every direction. Guess what? More rolling terrain and spruce trees as far as the eye can see! 

Also on the summit is the solitary grave of Elisha Mitchell, geologist and professor, who first recorded the mountain's height. In 1828 Mitchell conducted a geographic survey of North Carolina when he discovered this peak he believed to be the highest in the region. His first measurement was in 1835, and subsequently in 1838 and 1844, to verify it was higher than the popular Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Of course, his initial findings were challenged so Mitchell returned several times to prove the accuracy of his earlier measurements. Unfortunately, he fell to his death on the mountain in 1857 during one of the return trips.

Approaching Mt. Mitchell Summit  

Approaching Mt. Mitchell Summit  

In 1882 the U.S. Geological Survey upheld Mitchell's measurements and "officially" honored him by naming the peak Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

Miles 3520,  Week 41,  Weather 71F🌧

Posted
AuthorRich Monroe