The entrance to Mt Mitchell State Park
This trip was also special for two other reasons: It was the biggest climb I have done since having knee surgery in December and it was the first time in more than three years that I was meeting my friend Don Patterson at the restaurant.
Don and I met when he was running the restaurant and I was bicycling up there pretty much every week. I haven't been in Asheville much in the summer for the last eight years, but, when I was here and the restaurant was open, I would ride up there to meet Don for lunch. Don stopped running the restaurant 6 six years ago, but we continued meeting there till three years ago. The restaurant was run by an unpleasant fellow for the last three years, and both Don and I boycotted it. Now it has a new, and very good, manager and a great new menu, so I was really looking forward to getting back.
Climbing Town Mountain Road headed for the Parkway
Spring on Town Mountain road at about 3000 feet above sea level
Mt Mitchell State Park is located about 30 miles from Asheville. It is also almost a mile higher than Asheville so spring at the Park happens a lot later than spring in Asheville. We last had snow in Asheville more than a month ago, but it snowed on Mt Mitchell on May 3rd. The low temperature that day was in the upper 30s in Asheville and the high single digits on Mt Mitchell. In about three weeks,hundreds of riders will take part in the Assault on Mt Mitchell. They stand a better than 25% change of riding into sleet or snow on their way to the the top!
I rode Town Mountain Road to the Parkway at Craven Gap. Town Mountain climbs about 1300 feet from Asheville and then descends about 300 feet to the Parkway. In Asheville the dogwoods are losing their flowers, but at the high points on Town Mountain they are just coming into bloom.
On the Parkway at 3500 feet looking at 5000 feet - spring fading into winter
The notch in the ridge in the middle is the Parkway at 5100 feet some five miles ahead
The edge of spring at about 4500 feet
Mt Mitchell from the notch - the first place you can see Mt Mitchell from the Parkway
Mt Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern US, is at the center of this image
Looking west from Craggy toward Tennessee
This image looking east from Craggy, looking down from winter into spring
Climbing toward the highest point on the Parkway north of Asheville
Looking down at the Parkway where 128 goes off - it is definitely winter up here
Heading up 128 toward Mt Mitchell