Waterrock knob to Browning knob, the last hiking trail along the parkway before Cherokee, and the last voyage of one Cessna 414.

The Browning Knob plane crash proves you can be on course and still face disaster, that things can change in the blink of an eye and you’re never guaranteed tomorrow.

I’ve read all sorts of posts on the crash including, the pilot was drunk, the pilot had a blood-alcohol level of .04, it was an unfiled flight plan, it was filed but the weather was bad, he was doing some up and down maneuver to see below the clouds, he was taking his secretary home (who may have also been a pilot) to see her family for thanksgiving and only had 11 more miles to land. I don’t know any other facts other than there is a Cessna 414A on the side of the mountain and two people lost their lives. I wonder if the altimeter was broken or why on the down flight he would’ve flown lower than the mountain peaks in the area? Maybe he thought he had time to do one more duck and look before landing but hadn’t cleared Browning knob. I have pasts and present pilots in the family and a few friends who fly. As we were at the sight I couldn’t help but notice we were only a few hundred feet below Browning mountains peak. Despite the skyrocketing fuel prices, I wanted to go for the abandoned HDR shot. I don’t consider where someone died a sacred spot, I mean if I did there’d be a living room and bedroom where family took their last breaths but I really don’t understand the graffiti. I mean why deface it? Someone even cut out the 414 logo on the passenger side of the plane. I Photoshopped out the big bold graffiti on a few of my shots simply because I didn’t want to give the idiots exposure.


The hike was challenging. It’s the last hiking trail along the parkway at just 18 miles from the end of the BRP. You hike past Waterrock knob to Browning knob. Waterrock knob, MP 451.2 is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th-highest mountain in the Eastern United States at 6292′, and the 15th highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6,000 feet. It got its name from the spring located near the summit. Lots of ice, rocks, mud, roots and tall steps for short legs, so it wasn’t the easiest just over 2 mile hike we’ve done. It was 57 at home and 35 with a 20+ mph wind up there but the views were incredible. I’d like to go back to Waterrock Knob for a sunrise/sunset. All the fungi stuff in the trees was growing sideways from the wind. There were all sorts of paths to the same point and we passed lots of people for a workday. Since we can move around when we work both being self-employed, I like to try to hike during the week.

I felt a little rushed to get to the crash site, set up my tripod and get my bracketed shots before more people came. I would’ve stayed longer but a large group of ladies showed up. I didn’t realize I’d left off a shot from above the plane looking down the hill until I started looking at my photos. Thankfully hubby shot a few (two below) with his phone.

We passed a lot more people on the way back to the car. I hadn’t realized it’d be such a popular site. We didn’t get a super early start because being rushed working where there is no bathroom but the great outdoors, I wanted to finish my entire pot of coffee. It was an hour away so we were not going to get there before the sun was high in the sky anyway. Plus it was cold so any mid day warmth was welcomed. We both were kinda surprised trees had not started growing through the plane yet.

On the way to the crash site we passed an enchanted green area, well several, but one I wanted to shoot when we passed it again on the return. I didn’t take the time to set the tripod back up and was trying to hold a bracketed shot when hubby was telling me to look at the cat on a leash. When my camera finished, I turned and asked what kind of cat it was before I made it back on the trail and she said a Ragdoll. 🙂 Second or third leash trail walking cat but the first Ragdoll. He looked to be a young blue colorpoint with the cutest little blaze. It made me feel bad we’d chosen to leave Tyler for a day hike after being gone so much working on the land. I don’t think he would’ve liked hiking even if we’d started well before his almost 15 years.

The visitor center and restrooms were not open yet so when we left we headed to Cherokee so I could use a real bathroom. Their Wendy’s was still drive-thru only. I guess they’re just gonna keep it shut all the way thru every flu/coronavirus season from now on. 😦

We passed what we thought was a blue fire tower. It is a cell tower on tribal land “The tower has been designed to look like an observation tower to preserve the scenic appeal of the Blue Ridge Parkway.”

This outing was last minute. We both wanted a break from clearing the underbrush full of briars on the land. The mess will still be there later.

We planned to see Chasteen Creek Falls but ran out of oomph. We did pull off the road to see both parts of Woodfin Falls, above the BRP roadside near MP 446.8, and then again below from the Mount Lowry Overlook.

Next month we have an anniversary, Tyler’s birthday, and company coming in plus we’re hoping the well guy finally gets there and we can make actual house progress. We did tromp around on our land some more and we think we know where we want to cut in some walking paths by the creek. I’m delighted we have more creek than I thought, well at least after a rain. We both wore long sleeves to church. Hubby’s arms are all scratched up and I’m scratched, bruised and poisoned oak/ivy’d. We still love being up there but it was nice to have a little break.

Have you all noticed the weather forecasts have been more direr lately? “Weather warn” days all the time with flooding, tornado, strong winds warnings more often? I remember where if you were in the red on the radar you were getting hammered. We’ve been right under the red, with tornado warnings and really strong wind gusts forecasts right on top of us and it doesn’t really seem that bad. Just wondering if anyone else noticed it’s like the doppler radar has become a lot more sensitive?

Root canal sealer update: I actually had one time brushing that the pain of the brush on one side of my tooth didn’t turn my stomach. It started back feeling the same way it has been, but hey, one side not feeling horrible for even one time was nice. Ya know because it’s been 2 months!

#BrowningKnob #Waterrockknob #planecrash #planewreck #WNC

If you enjoyed this post, my cover design or photography -please share. If you’d like to follow my blog, (which includes pet food recalls) and get an email when I post, just click on the “follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page or on the homepage.  You enter your email address, and you’ll receive an email confirmation in return. I do NOT share email addresses. To learn more about my book cover design, photography or the books I’ve authored— my first homepage on this site has all the links.

2 thoughts on “Waterrock knob to Browning knob, the last hiking trail along the parkway before Cherokee, and the last voyage of one Cessna 414.

  1. Anne Mehrling

    I enjoyed your hike story and marvelous photos. My son has seen the plane wreck. I’m glad you mentioned that it was challenging, because I am now content to have seen your pictures and won’t go myself.


    1. KiM Post author

      I hate to talk to you of of something. If you do decide to go I’m pretty sure tall hiking boots with ankle support and walking stick would be a must. I’m sure it’d be easier w.o the ice and mud. You can see the trail pics in some of those photos. I just had to sit in several places to make my legs reach the next step (or jump) and I did lots of root and tree hugging.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s