Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mt. Mitchell Iftar - Midnight Hike

On the 8th day of Ramadan, in the year 1430 Hijra, four brave souls made the attempt to midnight hike up the highest point east of the Mississippi River, the Black Mountain, more than a billion years old. Later named Mt. Mitchell, it stands highest above all in Appalachia at 6,684 feet.

Before midnight, we drove to the summit, pitched tents, and soaked up the views. Later the clouds rolled in and brought on cooler air that was refreshing compared to the 90+ degree humid heat in Charlotte. As the sun began to set, and our mouths salivated just thinking of food, our other friends Fares and Hazem and company joined in. We grilled burgers, chicken kabob, veggies, and calzone along with other great food. I don’t have any shots of the food because just as it turned 7:55pm a light rain visited. We retreated to the shelter on the summit and began to devour our food. It rained harder, and we all left just before 9pm when the gate closes on Mitchell.

As we retreated to our tents, the rain subsided, and lit a campfire. Four of us remained, Abu Yasir, Amin, Mr. H, and the Sultan. After getting really toasty from the campfire we drove down the Black Mountain Campgrounds, and began our midnight ascent of Mt. Mitchell. Started at 3,000 feet we noticed a considerable difference in temperature, maybe 15-20 degrees warmer. I was the only one who had done this before, many times before, and the rest were rookies. So I decided to move at a slower pace so we could all enjoy the night hike. 3 hours later we made it to the summit, a successful climb, and all were in good spirits. We then walked another mile on asphalt to get back to our summit campsite and went to sleep. All this was done in complete darkness, and we fasted the 9th day of Ramadan the next day.

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