Haywood County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Guyot

Date: May 23, 2002
Author: Patrick Craft

I climbed this mountain as a requirement for the South Beyond 6000, an organized program to climb the 40 peaks over 6000 feet in the southeastern US. I planned a 4 day, 42 mile backpack through the eastern end of the park, beginning at Catalochee. I spent the first night at the Laurel Gap shelter. The second day I planned to bag Yonaguska/Tri-Corner Knob, leave my pack at Tri-Corner shelter, bag Mount Chapman, then head go to the shelter, make dinner, then head over to Mount Guyot; a long day with 3 bushwhacks.

On the AT past Guyot Springs, I found the old man-way and started up. After about 15 minutes I made the false summit, where the real hike began. It took me 45 minutes to get through the maze of blow-downs alternating with briars to the true summit. I rested, ate, and decided to save myself some time and bushwhack down Guyot Spur to the AT. That took me 15 minutes, saving me over an hour on the return; which was good as I got to the shelter as it was getting pretty dark. What a great summit, very few people make it up there.

The next day I bagged Marks Knob, the most remote of the southern sixers, 10.5 miles of trail from the nearest road then a mile of bushwhacking. To make it challenging, rather then going back to the Balsam Mountain trail, I bushwhacked 3.5 miles down Hyatt Ridge to McGee Springs. This 4.5 mile bushwhack took me 9 hours through some unreal thick blow-downs and rhododendrons. A thunderstorm woke me early and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I began my hike out at 5:30 in the morning. I made it to Asheville in time to meet a friend for lunch before driving home!

Overall a GREAT hike through a remote section of the Smokies. Other than about 15 through hikers on the AT, 5 people at the Laurel Gap shelter and McGee Springs campsite, I saw 4 people in 42 miles; all within a mile of my car at Cataloochee. I suspect Mount Guyot is the most remote county HP in the southeastern US.