Max Patch is an Appalachian Trail campsite located on the North Carolina and Tennessee border near Hot Springs, NC. Taylor and I set out one October weekend to camp atop the hill. After we hiked the quick half-mile to the top and set up our campsite, we spent Saturday relaxing and exploring the hill and surrounding area.
Tangled bushes were sprouting with delicate flowers everywhere we turned. Bees buzzed around the flowers while butterflies and moths bounced on the gentle breeze. Brave birds searched our campsite for singing crickets and camouflaged grasshoppers. Woolly worms inched through the same lush grasses where children and dogs frolicked.
I recommend bringing a pair of binoculars to properly appreciate the visible distance from atop Max Patch. Taylor and I counted the fading peaks and admired the many shades of green trees that blanketed every one.
As nightfall neared, the hilltop began to fill with tents and the clamor of campers. Taylor and I set up on the East side of the hill, but the greatest view was had on the West side when our glorious Sun set the sky ablaze.
Max Patch fell into darkness after the massive, glowing ball of fire disappeared behind the mountains. Columns of smoke rose from the campsites into a night sky that was just beginning to bud with brilliant stars, tinted planets, and entire galaxies.
Though Taylor and I are far from experienced with our telescope, Max Patch is a wonderful place to have one. We identified several constellations and marveled at the dust of the milky way. It is truly humbling to see the vast totality of our cosmic perspective.
Sunday morning, we woke up before dawn and began to gather our gear before the radiant, morning Sun cut through the clouds and fog. Everyone else around us started to wake and dozens of people gathered on our side of the mountain to watch the sun peak through the clouds for the first time that morning.
Taylor and I took one last walk around the top of Max Patch and found an unexpected sight. The lush, green valleys were overflowing with rivers of fog that looked undeniably similar to the glaciers we had recently visited in Iceland.
The spectacle of fog at dawn was a perfect way to end an already unbelievable weekend. Max Patch is nothing less than a patch of heaven in North Carolina, and it has inspired me to further explore more of the expansive Appalachian Mountains.