Back in May we were in Damascus, Virginia, a week before that town's Trail Days. A father with two sons (from Arkansas) were hiking north on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and reached Damascus while we were going for a quick stroll along the trail. We stopped to chat with them, asking about their hardships, trail names, and favorite things thus far. I remember one of the boys saying he really liked Max Patch. I kept that detail in my mind and googled it later. I noticed Max Patch was closer to Asheville than the Boone area where we tend to go as Boone is a bit closer to our house. But I figured we'd eventually go back towards Asheville, and as you know already (if you've read the blog), we did last weekend.
So before our trip, I googled Max Patch again and wrote down some directions from Lake Lure. Those directions turned out to not be very good, but thankfully I was able to find some easy directions when I googled again from Andrew's phone. We went straight down interstate 40 almost to Tennessee. At exit 7, we got off the exit, turned right, and it almost immediately turned into a gravel road. Which we followed for a bit over eight miles to the parking area at Max Patch.
You can walk a trail directly up to the summit (and it's really not a bad walk at all), or you can circle around through the wood and emerge along the Appalachian Trail and see the view that thru-hikers would see as they walked north or south. We took the second route. Here are some of my pictures.
|The white blazes let you know you are on the AT|
A note in the parking area said back in the 1920s that they would land small aircraft on the flat top of Max Patch. Also, these areas were cleared by people in the 1800s for their livestock to graze.
|going down to the parking area from the summit|
|I like these clouds|
After leaving, we went a different route to Hot Springs which is also along the Appalachian Trail. A sign there said it was the first town thru-hikers from Georgia get to after hiking about 200 miles.
|Andrew rode his bike for a few minutes|
|AT white blaze|
Hot Springs kind of caters to the AT hikers...and also those who want to enjoy tubing and other water activities on the French Broad River.
|see the tubers?|
I walked a little bit around a neighborhood, and found some lovely flowers.
Interesting tidbit: we learned that Germans were interned in Hot Springs during World War I. The lady telling the story at the Welcome Center mentioned a few of them had wives and children join them there - and the children attended Madison County schools. If I heard her correctly, she claims that after the war 70% of the Germans got US citizenship. She mentioned the towns of Little Switzerland and Maggie Valley being settled by these new Americans.