Mount Mitchell is Overrated

Before I dive into the events that lead to the creation of this post, I think it’s important that you see the cookie cake my cousin Mikey purchased at the West Asheville Ingles.

Not only were choices made to create and market this cookie cake, but some confusing artistic choices were made by the icing artist. Namely–why is a crucifixion scenescape so pastel and cheery? I know, I know…pastels! Easter! Blah, blah, blah, but this is still an egregious tonal disconnect! And if you’re going to chose “He has RISEN!” as copy, wouldn’t it make more sense to pair it with a buttercream rolled away stone (or be consistent with capitalization)?

What does this have to do with Mt. Mitchell being overrated? Well, I ate a portion of this cookie cake early Easter morning before embarking upon an arduous journey to the top of Mt. Mitchell.

Mikey, the aforementioned cousin and purveyor of this crucifix-cookie art (and proofreading enthusiast who delights in finding grammatical errors on this blog and sending them to me) was down for a visit and said the one hike he wanted to tackle was Mt. Mitchell, ostensibly for its tallness.

Now, I’m not here to shit all over Mt. Mitchell. Overrated doesn’t mean bad. And Mt. Mitchell isn’t a bad hike. I can forsee doing it again–it’s a great workout and the campground the hike starts from seems like fun place to stay when it’s open. I personally feel like the Mt. Mitchell hike simply doesn’t live up to the grandeur the “tallest peak east of the Mississippi” suggests.

The hike is almost entirely in the forest. It’s pretty forest, but there’s no real viewpoints. You also spend a decent portion of the hike switchbacking up a cleared portion of the mountain underneath powerlines.

Exhibit A:

Now, am I a little bit biased because I struggled immensely with this hike? Yes. Was I struggling because I prepped on Saturday by doing a different 10-mile hike that I then followed with approximately 5 IPAs and 2 orders of wings? Sure, and that’s my cross to bear, but I still felt compelled to present you dear readers with the facts in case someone decides to tell you how Mt. Mitchell is such a great hike.

The most egregious crime Mt. Mitchell commits is its lack of view from the top, a top you can drive to, so is filled with the kinds of tourists that don’t know how to walk in any other fashion other than 5 wide across a bricked pathway (now that I’ve been in Asheville for over a year, I officially must loathe tourists).

I couldn’t be bothered to make it the 300 yards from where the Mt. Mitchell trail ends to the proper summit. Mikey did, and on his way back snapped a photograph of me napping on a park bench like some neon-beached Shamu.

Exhibit B:

It turns out that if people think you’re napping and/or a neon-beached whale, they’ll say some pretty wild things just four feet from you, which was a fitting end to this painful hike (minus the part that it wasn’t the end and I was then forced to stumble 6 miles back down the mountain).

Exhibit C:
A woman standing four feet from where I lay, turned to her girlfriend and said, “it’s like I told my doctor, ‘I may poop irregularly, but they’re always regular poops.'” If that didn’t personify my hike, I’m not sure what would.

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