Soon after moving to Asheville, the Scafell Pike Co. team decided to check out the much anticipated Max Patch, a beautiful bald in the Smoky Mountains where the 360 degree views go on for miles, about an hour from where we live.
When we left home, it was around 55 degrees outside so we didn’t layer up on clothing as much as we should have. However, driving into the mountains, we noticed that a light snow was sprinkling the side of the road and the trees. By the time we arrived at Max Patch Trailhead, it was around 25 degrees. When we got to the top, wait for it, the weather had made an about turn down to 10 degrees. To make matters even more serious, there was a windy gust that we had to shield our eyes from.
One thing I have to say, though, this did not deter everyone in our party from having fun. The trees were as white as snow, with their tops covered in ice. Someone from another group mentioned that Max Patch had fallen prey to an ice storm earlier in the day.
As to the picnic, there was none to be had. We left our coffee and lunch in the car because no one in their right senses would sit around in that kind of weather. So, we consumed the eatables on our way back down, laughing at ourselves for having failed to prepare.Overall, I have to say that the adventure was completely worth it. After that episode, we have actually visited Max Patch a couple of times. However, we always dress like Eskimos before heading out even though it has never grown cold like the first time we soared up the mountain. We have also returned to the viewpoint to specifically watch the sunset – all warm and cuddled up in our colorful wool camp blanket. In case you find yourself in the Smokies, consider visiting this vantage point – the beauty and the magnanimity of the views will literally and figuratively take your breath away.
Here are some photos of the sunset on a much warmer day at the top of Max Patch - equally beautiful just very different from the same spot.