Trailhead: Max Patch
Madison County, North Carolina
Hike: 10 Miles (5 miles NoBo and back)
“All over America today
people would be
dragging themselves to work,
stuck in traffic jams,
wreathed in exhaust smoke.
I was going for a walk in the woods.” ― Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
We knew we had to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail when we were staying in Asheville, North Carolina. After a few Google searches about where to go, we decided to make the hour-and-a-half drive to the Max PatchTrailhead, with a pre-hike stop for breakfast at the Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs.
After the biggest breakfast ever, we followed our WAZE directions until we saw a faded, wooden, hand-painted sign that read “Max Patch” with an arrow. We abandoned WAZE and followed the arrow up a bumpy, twisting road that went on forever. If you get motion sickness easily, like Amy, take a Dramamine or two. It was the bumpiest road we’ve ever been on it seriously felt like Betty White (our Nissan Xterra) was one big rock from a flat tire.
We were so happy to make it to the parking lot. It was cold and foggy and we couldn’t really see much beyond the narrow footpath that lead up a hill. That was enough for us! We headed onward and upward, but a still couldn’t really see what was around or ahead of us. The early morning fog really added to the magic of Max Patch, and when the sun came out and the fog lifted, the reveal of mountains and surrounding scenery was spectacular.
Does this backpack make my man boobs look big?
The other magic part of our ten-mile hike was Pippin, a twenty-something thru-hiker. Since thru-hiking the AT is our bucket list, we were happy he agreed to let us hike a few miles with him, and that he patiently answered all the questions we (Amy) asked.
Pippin, we hope you had an awesome hike!
We loved the mountain views, the wooden foot bridges, the green forests, and white blazes. The AT definitely cast its spell on us. It was love at first hike, and we hope to hike the entire trail as soon as we figure out how to take five months off work.
Jeff's after hike hydration: Freak of Nature IPA by Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, NC.