Sunday, May 20th, was a beautiful day for a hike in the Highlands of Roan. Thirty six ambitious hikers joined Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC), Highland Brewing Company, and US Fish and Wildlife Service for a full day of hiking.
Hikers started their journey along Roaring Creek down in the valley below Little Hump by hoping onto the Overmountain Victory Trail. This was a good warm-up for everyone as we gradually ascended to connect with the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail traverses 17 miles in the Highlands of Roan and provides some of the most spectacular views in the Southern Appalachians. The grade of the trail became immensely more difficult as the group set their sights on summiting Little Hump Mountain. A little ways up, hikers took a break to look back down into the valley and admire the iconic Overmountain Shelter.
Almost 1,500 feet later, the crew made it to the top where everyone enjoyed breathtaking views and good company. The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Highland Brewing Company became partners in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of land protection in our region. To do that, Highland Brewing Company names their seasonal ales after protected peaks in the region. Little Hump Mountain was the inspiration for their spring seasonal.
On top of Little Hump, the Ridge and Valley Province lies to your west in Tennessee and the renowned peaks of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Linville Gorge rise to the east in North Carolina. Depending on the season, you could have bluets at your feet and flame azaleas in your line of vision as you look out across the mountains. Much of the panoramic viewshed from around Little Hump is untouched by houses or developments and perhaps the best part is that you can enjoy these views for free anytime of the year.