Day 25 – Max Patch Is Overrated!

Sure people describe it as heaven on top of hill but is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

Absolutely! It’s an epic and magical place, I’m probably going to take a zero tomorrow and soak it all it in.

I started a new audiobook today, called “anti-fragile”, and there is an extensive chapter about certain books becoming wildly popular because they had been banned or had highly negative reviews. So I figured I’d rouse the masses by throwing shade on the infamous Max Patch. Not that it needs it for popularity sake, it holds it own very well.

Today was a little over 14 miles and 5000 ft in elevation gain to arrive at Max Patch with an hour or so to spare before sunset. I caught up with “Hatch, Sip, Soda, Rabbit, and Stan” fairly early in the day. We hiked the remaining 10 miles together. It’s the first time since Georgia I’ve been in a group larger than 4 or 5 hiking all together. It was a great day and the vibes all around were prime.

The arrival at Max Patch had a fairly steep approach but as you crest the bald, the whole place opens up and you can see rolling hills and mountains for miles. We could even see to the Smokies where we just came from literally yesterday. Now close to 25 miles of trail hiking away, they seem like an eternity from us.

We took our shoes off and laid in the grass on top of the bald taking in the views. I took a Timelapse of the sunset until it was nearly dark. The rest of the gang walked down the hill to find a campsite in the trees. I stayed back watching the colors of the sunset shift and smolder. The last group of locals struck up a conversation with me as they were leaving.  They gave me a beer to enjoy, leaving me as the last person on the mountain. I even considered cowboy camping there under the stars alone.

Instead I put on my headlamp and headed a short distance down the hill to set up my tent. We’ll be back in just a few hours for sunrise. My alarm is set for 6am. Night all.

Stow away in my pack for day 26 on the Appalachian Trail.

You can follow Derek on Instagram @barkleycharles and view Max Patch Timelapse’s.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 8

  • The mill hunkie : May 10th

    nice photographs of max patch bald.
    As far as over rated I guess that depends on your perspective.
    The first time I crossed it in 1981 there was snow and fog.
    The second time was a little better. There was only fog.
    You did the right thing to stay and enjoy the view. Woulldlove to see sun rise pictures.

    • Derek Witteman : May 11th

      There’s a sunrise Timelapse on my instragram! I’ll try to post a sunrise photo on my next days post

  • Bloodthirsty Vegan : May 10th

    Exceptionally moving photography, and a very succinct post. I would suggest “Limelight” (RUSH). “Stuck in the camera eye, I have no heart to lie……..”. A very accomplished individual, you deserve a successful journey. As an opioid dependent catastrophic burn survivor I’ll just be an onlooker until check out time but I cherish my wilderness memories from the Blue Ridge Pkwy area of the AT (80s/90s) with my wife and 5 years of intermittent solo journeys throughout Kodiak Island (70s) as a young Coast Guardsman. I’ve read a lot of Trek posts and you can tell that a lot of them are going to Bill Bryson the trail but you’re a real contender for success.

    • Derek Witteman : May 11th

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate the well wishing and your insight. It’s beautiful place out here for sure!

  • thetentman : May 11th

    Overrated? Your pictures tell a different story.

    Thx for the post.

    • Derek Witteman : May 11th

      Yeah, guilty as charged for the clickbate title

  • CB : May 11th

    Although I would have read it anyway, as planned, the title pulled me in. I’m surprised somebody hasn’t bashed you for being sneaky. Those pics are outstanding! Especially the one with the split rail fence. As usual, excellent writing!

    • Derek Witteman : May 11th

      The scenery sometimes makes my job too easy lol


What Do You Think?