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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Weekend Wanderer

Posted August 28, 2009 10:11 a.m. EDT

The Weekend Wanderer is burning up the back roads of North Carolina again looking for unique adventures. What new jewel will be found? Well, please add to the treasure trove of Tar Heel fun by disclosing what you and your family are planning this weekend. If you need some inspiration check out our Out & About section.

I’m scheduled to go on a fishing trip with some family members. It’s good to hear of Danny’s disarray off the coast. Maybe we’ll be able to at least do some sound fishing.

If I weren’t headed east I’d probably go west to Grandfather Mountain. I’m intrigued by an article in Lew Powell’s book On This Day in North Carolina. Tomorrow marks the 215th anniversary of botanist Andre Michaux’s climb to the top of Grandfather Mountain following a four day hike. This is what Michaux wrote in 1794: “I reached the summit of the highest mountain in all of North America.”

Grandfather Mountain is a grand spectacle but at 5,964 feet it is certainly not the tallest peak in North America and not even North Carolina. Mount Mitchell in Yancey County is the tallest peak in eastern America at 6,684 feet.

Michaux is credited with finding dozens of new plants at Grandfather Mountain and other peaks in the Blue Ridge. But what was he really up to? He was looking for new species of trees for his native France. The French forests had been depleted and the country needed lumber to build warships. That was a big part of his mission to North Carolina 215 years ago.

What are you doing this weekend?  Are you looking for lumber or just a lazy stroll?