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Devil's Courthouse has heavenly view

Posted July 2, 2010 4:53 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2010 7:50 a.m. EDT

— Hikers say that a certain peak in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains is so fierce-looking that it's an appropriate place for the devil to hold court.

It's a steep, half-mile climb to the top of the Devil's Courthouse. There lies a cave where, folklore has it, the devil sits as a judge and doles out punishments.

Hiker Don Arnett, however, felt very differently when looking out at the view from the rocky perch 5,720 feet in the sky.

"The devil had nothing to do with building this place. He didn't make the view," Arnett said. "Only God could create something like this."

From the top of the Devil's Courthouse, off mile marker 422.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, climbers can see dozens of mountain peaks and parts of four states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

Arnett said that vast perspective gave him new insight.

"It's more beautiful than anything I've seen in life – then again, there's my wife," he laughed.

The high altitude is also home to some beautiful and unusual plant life, such as rock gnome lichen.

Arnett said he came away convinced the Devil's Courthouse is a misnomer.

"Absolutely beautiful. This is definitely God's country," he said. "I will never forget it. It's unbelievable."