Bald Is Beautiful

The Bald Trifecta

My last two blogs featured photos from the Grayson Highlands and the Roan Highlands. Well, we hiked through a through a third bald mountain known as Max Patch and it didn’t disappoint.  Unlike the first two, a road brings non-hikers right to the mountain.  In fact…yes, those are my grandkids enjoying Max Patch last year.

More to come. Title credits to Sideways.

Day 133 – Jerry Cabin shelter to Rich Mountain camp (19miles)

Day 134 – Rich Mountain camp to Hot Springs (8 miles) 

Day 135 – Hot Springs to Max Patch (21 miles)

Day 136 – Max Patch to Standing Bear (13 miles)

Hot Springs

Sounds like a mattress company, right? It’s one of those rare towns that the trail passes directly through. To enter the town, you need to cross the French Broad (yes, French Broad) River.

Once in town, a look backwards shows a mountainside with many dead trees.

When we stopped in the visitor center, Spokes asked about the trees and the guide explained they’ve been devastated by invasive hamsters, from Maine. Huh?? Then he started laughing.  He’s become creative after hearing the same question a thousand times per year. The truth is that a fire took them out and threatened the whole town in 2016, before firefighters put it down.

Here’s Spokes in the Center illustrating how far we’ve hiked and how little to go.

More Trail Magic

Up north in Massachusetts is a famous cookie lady. She’s good to hikers, providing cookies, water and a place to camp. She’s been doing it for years. Turns out there’s a southern cookie lady, as well.

She’s right off the trail and began providing goodwill last year.  Typically, it’s one cookie per hiker, but she generously gave us each an additional Halloween cookie and a Congratulations! cookie, since each of us are so close to completing the trail (mile 291). They were all delicious!

Max Patch

As mentioned, Max Patch is very popular.  The Bald mountains are unique because of the views existing without trees. Before we get to the views, here are some flora we came across.

Sideways spotted this beauty.  As an orchid enthusiast, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is an orchid known as Appalachian Ladies Tresses.

This is Selfheal, or Prunella Vulgaris; what a name.

And this beauty, Downy Lobelia.

And of course, the mountain views.

We also noted this warnin-

And while we ate lunch, this mouse came by. He tried to hide, not realizing his butt was hanging out.

Thanks for listening.

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Comments 2

  • Carol : Oct 9th

    Getting close! Pat will be glad to have you home!

  • thetentman : Oct 9th

    Thank you and good luck with the rest of the hike.



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