North Carolina

Mount Mitchell - 6684 feet
4/30/2002 1:00PM 55 degrees
I spent the night in a campground in Great Smokey Mountains National Park the night before. It was decent but there were no showers. I thought about washing up in the river but it was very cold at 7AM. After breaking camp, I drove to Mingo Falls a few miles away and got a nice photo. I passed through Cherokee, NC on the way out. There was a lot of kitschy signage in this area, and I wondered how much of it was really necessary. I got on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee and drove a section before hooking up with the interstate. I then drove through Asheville and picked up the BRP further north. This is a great section of the Parkway, I would definately recommend it to anyone. Each scenic overlook was nicer than the one before. I saw several touring bicyclists in this section. The highpoint is inside a State Park. There are buildings at the parking area, and a couple others at the top including the observation tower. The fenced off area in front of the observation tower is actually the grave of Mr. Mitchell, who was a professor at UNC Chapel Hill. There were only about a dozen cars in the parking lot. There was a small weather station near the parking lot which had temperature and barometric pressure.

I spent the next night in an Econo Lodge north of Asheville, near the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was a clean, cheap motel that I would recommend to anyone. From there, I drove down to Whitewater Falls (highest in the Eastern US) the following morning. It was pouring rain until around 8AM, and very foggy in the mountains for the remainder of my trip. I guess I lucked out by visiting the Smokeys before the fog rolled in. Whitewater Falls is in a nicely maintained park. I got lost on the way - made a wrong turn near Brevard and ended up in a fish hatchery in Pisghah National Forest. The light for photography was less than ideal, right after I broke down my tripod the sun came out for about a minute, and then the whole park was covered by a fog bank. My picture turned out fine, though. Lots of mosquitos and several chipmunks along the path to the falls.


Link to Google's satellite image


Mingo Falls

Whitewater Falls

Highest Falls in the Eastern US