Summit Seeking – Spring Break

For Spring Break Ethan, Marshall, and I took a southbound journey into the Appalachian mountains. We planned to summit six states by hiking their highest mountains. Leaving just before midnight allowed us to be in Virginia by sunrise, where we picked up a great breakfast at Casey’s Diner.

Casey’s Diner was a good way to start the day

Despite the fact that we were running on only one hour of sleep, we were full of energy and ready to conquer, so we began our first state summit: Mt. Rogers of Virginia. The hike was very scenic, with wild ponies and awesome rocky vistas that offered 360 degree views.

Ethan getting dangerously close to a Pony



The wind was fierce up here

After Virginia’s summit, we wasted no time and headed for Kentucky to bag its highest point: Black Mountain. This mountain required just a short hike, which was shortened even more when a kind local gave us a ride back down the mountain.

Sunset on Black Mountain
Hitching a ride

No sleep finally caught up to us and we crashed for the night at a campsite. But by morning we were ready to defeat Tennessee at Clingman’s Dome. We battled 16 miles of trail which had a lot of snow and ice cover. It was a long trip, but the view made it worth it.

Tennessee still had a wintry feel to it
The summit of Clingman’s Dome!
Looking North into the Carolinas

The next day we peaked Georgia’s Brasstown Bald and South Carolina’s Sassafras Mountain. The weather really got nice this day; nice enough for me to break out my sandals!

Climbing Sassafras
Flannels were required
It’s not a road trip without some off-roading

On the final day we woke at 3:30 am to begin hiking Mt. Mitchell (N.C.), which is the highest peak East of the Mississippi. We made it to the top just before sunrise, which was our goal. Unfortunately there was a heavy fog, so we missed the sunrise altogether. My first experience of night hiking was still a great adventure!

Good headlamps were a must
Our sixth and final summit!

We were dead tired, but full of tons of great memories. I’m looking forward to next spring break for more state summits!

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