I love camping in wilderness areas. Especially in wilderness areas that are not really popular and which remain uncrowded. More than anything else, I enjoy solitude when I go into such places.
One of my favorites is the Middle Prong Wilderness. Because it lies very close to Shining Rock Wilderness, it doesn't get the kind of traffic its more popular and admittedly more striking neighbor receives. This makes it perfect for me.
The backpacking trip I took in there in 2005 was great. I had the whole place to myself. I encountered only one other hiker in the joint and he was just a day-hiker on his way out as I was making my way in. Solitude? You better believe I had it.
This was also the trip where I got lost in the red spruce forest near my campsite as night was coming on. The time I panicked and ran screaming through the woods like a little girl. I thought I was going to spend the night huddled in the woods freezing my ass off. But I calmed down, found a clearing in the forest, and figured out how to get back to camp.
If you're hunting for a wilderness area with high mountains, good forests, some open country, and lots of solitude then I recommend Middle Prong Wilderness.
Me with my two-man tent. I still have that tent, but prefer to use my MSR one-man tent these days.
I'd like to bushwhack to this waterfall some day. It's located in the wilderness and drains off from a very high plateau near Mount Hardy. It has to be one of the highest (above sea level) waterfalls in the eastern USA.