Mt. Pleasant National Scenic Area
The view from the top: 360 degrees.
Mt. Pleasant National Scenic Area: Henry Lanum/Mountain Pleasant loop. 7.2 miles.
The only drawback about picking this loop in the Mt. Pleasant Scenic Area is that unless you want to get really ambitious, you don't get to do the equally cool Old Hotel/Appalachian Trail loop over Cold Mountain.
We'd never made this walk counter-clockwise and so we set out to the right at the start – along the nearly level forest-road Henry Lanum Trail that puts the climb to 4,000 feet off for long enough that you start to worry about a big climb at the end. Which was part of what we agreed to: Going the opposite direction from usual rendered the trail at least vaguely unfamiliar, at least until you get close to the intersection with the Mt. Pleasant Trail spur to the top.
And the top is as glorious as ever, with 360-degree views from both a western and eastern vantage point, the one puzzling aspect of which, on this clear day, was what are those tall peaks on south of the Peaks of Otter?
As I looked out and over during lunch, The Day Hiker was intent on the mushroom book, as the walk up had been marked by scores of great finds in that realm. Her overall conclusion remained where it usually is with regard to mushrooms: There are hundreds and hundreds in the book, but too many of those on the ground don't seem to match up with any in the book.
The walk back down was also characterized by a bit of unfamiliarity going in the opposite direction of our usual walk. Still, a walk on either of the Mt. Pleasant Scenic Area loops is a walk in paradise.
August 29, 2009