There are plenty of opportunities to stray off the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of them is at Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi.
The 6,684 foot mountain is protected by Mount Mitchell State Park. Here, you’ll find hiking trails, a visitors center and a short paved trail to an observation tower at the very top. That paved trail is just 989 feet and steep but manageable and well worth the view.
The Cherokee people who once called this land home called this mountain Attakulla.
European settlers eventually renamed it for Elisha Mitchell, the University of North Carolina professor who proved in 1835 that the mountain is several hundred feet taller than Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
He died in 1857 when he fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls. He is buried at the summit of this mountain.
The lady in this picture is my hero. She is elderly and appeared to be traveling alone. She took her time walking to the observation deck where she sat happily and enjoyed her surroundings.
I want to be her when I grow up.
Mount Mitchell is a nice diversion if you have time. Want to learn more? Click here!