The first hike that Jordan, Tom Hanks (the dog) and I undertook was a trek to Mt. Mitchell. Asheville is conveniently situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so there is no shortage of amazing outdoor activities to keep you occupied.
Confession: I was not really an outdoorsy kinda gal before meeting/marrying Jordan. But he's converted me, and now I really enjoy a hike! As long as it ends in a hammock. And as long as Jordan packs a lunch. ...I'm not high maintenance, you're high maintenance.
Mt. Mitchell is a North Carolina State Park, and, with its peak topping out at 6,684 feet, is the highest point east of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the day we went, it was really cloudy - we couldn't really see very far! But the drive up was breathtaking.
We'd only been in Asheville for a week when we drove out, so the trip (all in all about an hour one way) was our first foray into the mountains. Having moved to NC with no friends and no family, this drive was our first impression of our new home. Needless to say, we were pretty bowled over. There were moments when we were above the clouds, or when we could see clouds pouring over the mountainside as though someone had a giant cosmic pitcher and was dumping them out. It was truly spectacular.
We finally made our way onto the mountain, parked, and started by hiking onto a trail - not too far, probably only about a half mile. We weren't exactly sure what we were doing, so it was a shorter trip than what has become our now-normal 2-3 hour hikes.
Afterward, we hiked a short little jaunt to the top of the mountain, where, as I mentioned, we didn't have the best visibility. ...as in, like, none. But it was still really fun! There were two older men on top of the peak who were making a video for a friend of theirs who had recently died. From what I gathered from their narration over the footage, it was to be used as part of their friend's eulogy. They ended their video with a prayer. Something about being that high up is already pretty spiritual, and this just took it to the next level. Absolutely precious and, of course, made me cry.
The weather started to turn on us a little bit, so we decided to make our way back down the mountain while we had relatively clear skies. Though it was our shortest hike to date, the view on the drive up and (assuming you have clearer weather than we did!) once you reach the top are really something to see. And who doesn't want to go to the highest point east of the Mississippi? There's a great museum detailing the history of Mt. Mitchell that we missed since we had to bail a little early, but it would be very interesting to tour (cough if you are a giant history nerd like my husband cough).
Both humans and the dog on the trip enjoyed it - if you're visiting for an extended period of time, and you have a long afternoon free, this drive is a good investment.
Below are photos of the drive there and back!