Photo by JTM
|Best months for climbing:||Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov|
|Year first climbed:||N/A|
|Nearest major airport:||Asheville, NC. (AVL) or McGhee-Tyson, Knoxville, TN|
|Convenient Center:||Hot Springs, North Carolina|
Thanks to Travis Sutton Byrd for adding this peak.
Max Patch, a longtime favorite with AT thru-hikers and regional folks wanting to escape for a few sunny hours, is a superb example of that Appalachain anomoly-- the grassy bald. Although nobody is certain about the origin naked mountaintops (aboriginal practice of fire ecology, ice damage, invasion by gall wasps, and grazing pressure by bison and/or by Anglo livestock have all been theorized as potential points of genisis), we are all thankful for their presence in our densely forested hills (Southern Appalachia has no zonally occuring timberline). Max Patch, which is maintained in a grassy state by of periodic mechanical mowing, is readily acessible via dirt road (NC 1182) and by the Appalachian Trail. The view from the summit-- which is gained by one of those much-steeper-than-it-looks-from-the-trailhead type hikes-- is superb: at arm's length, the grassy earth falls away with 360 degree views just beyond; it seems a short stride would plummet you to the floor of the Tennessee Valley, onto the backbone of Bluff Mtn, or atop the steppingstone crest of Mt. Sterling. Roan Mtn and Mt Mitchell are also visible in the ultimate distance. With easy access, a short but steep hike, incomparable vistas, and excellent campsites, Max Patch is not just one of those rare, special spots that ranks on par with higher, wilder peaks; it is, in fact, one of those far rarer places that defines a class and category of its own.
Thanks to Travis Sutton Byrd for this description.