Date: November 22, 2020
Difficulty: 4 (out of 10)
For a while now we’ve been waiting for a good chance to see a bald. “Balds” are bare mountain tops. One of the most popular ones is Max Patch on the Appalachian trail. Almost all of them are 4+ hours from Charlotte. Recently we came across Bearwallow Mountain, which looked like a promising bald only 2.5hrs away.
This should have been a simple drive, hike & picnic, return – but it ended up being a more eventful day.
“Where’s our picnic bag?” Greg asked as we pulled into the busy parking area by the Bearwallow trailhead. “I don’t know, probably in the trunk,” I answered. “Haha, wouldn’t it be funny if we forgot our lunch?” I laughed. A few minutes later it wasn’t so funny. We actually left our lunch at home! This has never happened before. There was nothing to do except head back down the mountain (on a one lane dirt road) and drive into Hendersonville to get a few snacks at the local Food Lion. Fortunately, when we got all the way back up to Bearwallow, it was a lot less crowded.
The hike up is a fairly steep mile (an elevation gain of 550ft), and the trail is well-maintained. I don’t usually like to repeat a hike but I’d do this one again in a minute. Coming around the last curve and stepping out from the trees to a giant mountaintop field was absolutely amazing! We spread out our picnic blanket to nibble on honey mustard pretzels and enjoy the view.
It’s worth noting that this mountain is privately owned by a farming family who pastures their cattle at the top. Sadly, we missed out on a face-to-face with these cows. They’re probably kept in a barn over the winter.