Friday, May 19, 2017

Secret Panorama.

As I was hiking from Mount Mitchell to Cattail Peak, I noticed what appeared to be a small paper sign tacked to a tree to the left of the trail. So I decided to go look at it to see what it was all about. Apparently the state park folk thought that it was a good spot to tell backpackers that it is illegal to camp inside Mount Mitchell State Park except at the official campground.

But as I stood there looking at the sign, I noticed that there was a crude side trail continuing on past the sign to what appeared to be an overlook. So I pushed on through some limbs to see what it was. And what I discovered is the most striking and beautiful view I have so far stumbled upon in my six hikes on the Black Mountain Crest Trail (also known as the Deep Gap Trail).

Across the gulf of space between the cliff on which I now found myself was a deep gap and the looming summits of Balsam Cone and Cattail Peak. I have seen both of these summits rom numerous points along the trail, but none of them so impressive as this one.

This is one reason why I keep going back to the Black Mountain Crest Trail. While it always punishes me physically, I continue to get a jolt of pure beauty whenever I hike it.

As for the sign, I can see why someone would want to camp there, but I saw absolutely no way for them to do so. There was no room to pitch even the smallest of tents. And it would even have been difficult to string up a hammock anywhere around the view. But you never know. There are always people willing to break the rules and abuse a park space.

The Secret Panorama.

A gulf of space looming between me and the summits of Balsam Cone and Cattail Peak. (Click to embiggen.)

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