“I believe that the ascent of mountains forms an essential chapter in the complete duty of man, and that it is wrong to leave any district without setting foot on its highest peak.” These words were penned by Sir Leslie Stephen, a 19th century mountaineer. John Muir, a contemporary of Stephen, described his call to the outdoors in fewer words when he wrote, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.”
There’s something about living so close to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River that draws you. You might describe it as a natural call to adventure! The summit of Mount Mitchell rests at a cool 6,684 feet above sea level, overlooking a vast spruce-fir forest unlike any other wilderness area in the Appalachian range. For the soul that answers this call, it is a full day’s hike from Black Mountain. The hike is a significant rite of passage for our CITs during the summer, who walk out Rockmont’s front gate at 5:00am and summit the mountain around 6:00pm. Though the path is long and arduous at times, the hiking philosophy is simple — one foot in front of the other, walking until you can walk no higher.
Mount Mitchell is continually calling, and just this past Saturday, seventeen hikers answered that call as many have done before. The group included several Rockmont staff, alumni, friends of camp, and even a Rockmont camper. We began our hike in Montreat where Fall has just begun to yellow the leaves of the trees. By the time we reached the Blue Ridge Parkway, we were surrounded by a brilliantly colored forest that steadily gave way to the characteristic evergreen forest of Mitchell. We were continually blown away by the beauty of God’s creation, discovering something new with every step. God’s creativity was on display all around us and especially within us, and all we had to do was answer this call to adventure!
Pictured above at Renegade Rock, just short of half-way to Mitchell (left to right, bottom to top): Jamie Mollison, Phil Gaynor, Carrie Newcomb, Heath Capps, Margie Quinn, Katie Capps, Michael Peckham, Caleb Becker, Chuck Ragland, Corinne Crofford, Daniela Hinton, Mark Ragland, Robbie Kopp, Matt Ragland, Laura Ragland, and Kelly Hensley.