Mount Mitchell is the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River, at 6,683 feet.
The area is mostly alpine, with evergreen trees and brush. It's a completely different feeling from mountainous Asheville, just a 45 minute drive away on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I drove up and camped here about 3 years ago, but it was the first day of the season, early Spring, and the roads had only opened up from the snow clearance the day prior. My drinking water froze, and I shivered the entire night until 4am, when I hastily broke camp and headed to the Asheville area Waffle House.
But the stars were so incredibly bright, and the sky so clear, that wanted to return.
This time it was in mid-summer, with my 6-yr old son, 2 nephews, 1 niece, and my brother. It was a relief from the Carolina summer heat.
Temperatures on Mount Mitchell were around 55 degrees at night, about 65 or 70 during the day.
I had intended to bring my telescope this time around but forgot it. It wouldn't have mattered, because the skies were clouded with a mist and fog that never entirely dissipated. It felt like we were living in a cloud that kept rolling past us on the mountainside.
We made forays to several waterfalls to go swimming. I highly recommend. The water was shockingly cold, but not painful enough to force an exit. There were hundreds of butterflies on the creeks.
3 days, 2 nights. My son did not want to come home. He found several specimens of mica for his rock collection.