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Reader photo by Gregory Peters
Rocking Chair
Back porch of Mount Mitchell Restaurant, Yancey County, April 12, 2010

Photographer’s notebook

April 12, 2010, was a Monday and my day off. I grabbed my camera, jumped into my Jeep and headed for my favorite place when I want to get away from it all — the Blue Ridge Parkway. I got on where Route 276 crosses the Parkway just up from Brevard and headed for Mount Mitchell. I like to stop at almost all the overlooks. Things change from year to year and season to season up there, and I can always capture lots of photos.

As I was passing the parking for the restaurant I noticed the logs were pushed to the side and a few cars and a Park Ranger vehicle were there, so I turned in there, too. Mount Mitchell had just reopened a few weeks prior, and they were getting things ready for the season. I took a few pictures here and there of trees and birds. Around on the back porch or patio was this “Rocking Chair” just sitting all by itself. The view was spectacular, and I saw a picture!

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Snow was still all around in the woods, up to two feet deep in places. I continued up to the tower; it was the fist time I had been there since the new one was built. I took many photos up there, including this one.

The smell of freshly broken balsam fir branches wafted through the air, so I hiked deeper into the woods to fill my lungs with it. I truly am a N.C. mountain man!

The camera I had at the time was a Kodak EasyShare Z1015 IS — a nice point-and-shoot with high resolution and a good built-in 28-420mm lens. The photo was taken at the 28mm setting. The sky was Carolina blue, the day warm, and I had a wonderful time.

Gregory Peters, Pisgah Forest
More photos by Gregory

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Editor’s note:

It’s nearly tourist season in Western North Carolina.

Gov. Bev Perdue came to Asheville this week to speak at the N.C. Governor’s Conference on Hospitality & Tourism. At that event, according to a report by the Associated Press, Perdue said visitors spent a record $17 billion in North Carolina, according to a report by the U.S. Travel Association. That’s up 9 percent from 2009. The state also ranked sixth most-visited, behind California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, Perdue said.

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Home to the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell stands at 6,684 feet and is part of the Black Mountain range. In 1915, it became North Carolina’s first state park, and now includes 1,946 acres. More recently, an economic impact study commissioned by the N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation, found that local residents “receive a benefit of $10.20 for every dollar the state invests” in the park, which drew more than 434,000 visitors in 2004 according to the overview of Mt. Mitchell (PDF). Overall, the 14 parks included in the study were estimated to have an annual impact of $15 million in sales, according to the study’s executive summary.

There’s little doubt that this impact is due to the mountain’s environment, said to be more similar to Canada than the South, with it’s evergreens, crisp air, and massive views. To see Mount Mitchell by webcam, go here.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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