Climbing a mountain in the wintertime

I’ve done this before. Well, not technically. Kevin and I climbed Mount Mitchell a year ago, his goal was to do it in wintertime. However, we ended up there on the first day of spring, a fact Jeff has not let us forget all year.

So, this year we’re doing it officially in wintertime. And we’re bringing a group. And of course my dog, Breanna (have to leave the other dog, Kishin at home as he hates other dogs and Kevin is bringing his dog, Althea.)

Last year I borrowed Jeff’s Marine Corps issued sleeping bag, and I rented a pack and a tent from REI. REI only rents 4-person tents, and Jeff and Ronnie bailed on me at the last minute, so I ended up carrying the monstrosity alone. And REI accidentally gave me a man’s pack instead of a women’s pack. I was battered and bruised at the end of the trip, but I made it!

Since then, I have purchased a new pack, my very own, fitted for me and my gender:

My new pack













And I just added a new must-have: trekking poles:

















I didn’t realize why they were a must-have until Jeff pointed out the ice picks at the bottom of them. Sold! I had a lot of trouble getting over the ice last year.

Will probably still have to rent a tent, but with 3-4 people sharing it, it should not be so bad to carry. Still waiting on a final numbers count to figure that one out. Will need to rent a sleeping bag, too, as Jeff will be using his this time.

Located in a 1,855-acre North Carolina State Park, Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet) is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. (I swiped that from this web site). The trail we took last year is described as follows: This long, strenuous hiking trail leads from the Black Mountain Campground to the summit. Most of the trail is on USFS property. Climbs 3,600′ in 5.5 miles. It’s steep and rough in sections, but there are spectacular views. You’ll travel through a mixed hardwood forest at lower elevations, dense, old-growth spruce forests in upper elevations and almost pure stands of Fraser Fir at the top.

Not sure if we’re doing that one or the Deep Gap trail along the ridge line. The ridgeline is described as: For great views of Mount Mitchell from Mount Craig (6,645 feet, the second highest peak in the eastern United States), take a two-mile roundtrip hike through a Canadian-like forest. Deep Gap Trail begins at the picnic area near the beginning of the summit parking area. You will descend Mitchell and climb to the peak of Craig. The hike includes a good bit of climbing, but it is not overly strenuous. If you want to go farther, Deep Gap Trail continues for another 3.5 miles and crosses three more peaks above 6,000 feet. There are some great camping sites at Deep Gap.

I can’t wait!