A Tale of Two Music Teachers
Quinten and Megan met while teaching high school music together. Quinten was the marching band director and Megan taught chorus. They started dating in 2019 shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic left classrooms and band rooms empty and ghost town-like. When they weren't teaching virtual classes during the pandemic, they used their newfound downtime together to venture into the woods for mountain-top hiking with their dogs Crosby and Nash!
When they got engaged in 2021, after weathering nearly 2 years of the pandemic, they decided the mountains were calling for their engagement photos. We determined that Black Balsam Knob would make for an idyllic spot to capture their relationship together.
But Black Balsam Knob is a busy location and due to Leave No Trace concerns, we at Backpacks and Bow Ties are very selective about when we take couples here. We decided on a week-day for sunrise mountain engagement photos, which meant Quinten and Megan had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of them, starting at 3am, to make it from Charlotte, North Carolina to Black Balsam Knob near Asheville, North Carolina.
The early morning adventure didn't phase them, it was just part of the fun!
Black Balsam Knob: The Hike
Black Balsam Knob is located southwest of Asheville, North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The hike is 1.5 miles long and features rocky balds, panoramic views, and a balsam forest at the base of the mountain. It is a moderate hike, and heavily trafficked. The hike up to the top typically takes around 30-45 minutes.
If you visit this spot, be prepared for rapidly changing weather and heavy winds. The weather goes from sunny to cloudy to foggy to sunny again all in less than an hour. Sunrise is typically the best bet for weather and crowds. On our hike with Quinten and Megan, the weather and sunrise were beautiful, and we had the mountain to ourselves for their engagement photos.
Please be aware of super important Leave No Trace information concerning Black Balsam Knob at the bottom of the page!
Black Balsam Knob: The Cold
When we arrived at the peak, surrounded by panoramic views and a rising sun, we were greeted with hurricane force winds. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it definitely FELT like hurricane force winds at 6:30am in the morning in early November. At Backpacks and Bow Ties, we recognize that we can't control the weather, so no matter the circumstances, we're always having fun, and enjoying the adventure.
This adventure just happened to be really cold and windy!
I came prepared with plenty of hand warmers, and we embraced the cold. By keeping Quinten and Megan either moving around or cuddling together, we beat the cold and had fun doing it!
Black Balsam Knob: The Views
The hike and uncontrollable weather at here are ultimately worth it every time. There are few places that give you such breathtaking, sweeping views in every direction. For your mountain engagement photos with Backpacks and Bow Ties, Black Balsam Knob is somewhere that we can't grow tired of. It's a beautiful location for your engagement photos, elopement, or backpacking adventure. All of which we love to capture! My fiance and I personally love camping here. When the sun begins to peak out over the horizon, and your tent starts to glow, you wake up to something amazing. Head above the clouds, sun shining on the peaks and valleys, the clouds have sunk into the valley and are painted like cotton candy.
Want to experience it for yourself? Book your backpacking adventure session today! It's the perfect place to say your vows on your elopement. It's also perfect for your mountain engagement photos!
Planning Your Adventure: Leave No Trace
To protect Black Balsam Knob for future generations of visitors, please adhere to Leave No Trace principles and guidelines from the U.S. Forest Service. Black Balsam Knob is a highly trafficked location due to its accessibility and panoramic views. It's important to understand the impact you have when you visit this location. The U.S. Forest Service has requested that Black Balsam Knob not be used during high traffic times due to it's limited parking.
Backpacks and Bow Ties will NOT take couples to Black Balsam Knob during high traffic times such as the weekend or holidays.
We strongly recommend that you also do not visit during these times either. If there is no where to park when you visit, don't park on the sides of the road. It is a danger to vegetation, people, and people's vehicles. There are other nearby hikes to take instead, and come back when there is room to park. The U.S. Forest Service also will not issue Special Use Permits for weddings and elopements at Black Balsam Knob on the weekends or holidays.
Make sure that you are following the 7 Leave No Trace principles:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impact
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
Remember, when you choose to disregard any Leave No Trace principles, you create both short-term and long-lasting impact. In the short term, you destroy wildlife and vegetation by making poor Leave No Trace decisions. You also send a message to those around you that disregarding the safety of the outdoors is okay, and you lead others to do the same. For the future of these beautiful places, please consider the consequences of your actions!
Plan Your Adventure with Backpacks and Bow Ties
If you're searching for the freedom to be yourself, and the freedom that comes with heart-pounding adventure, Backpacks and Bow Ties is here to set you free. Book your smoky mountain engagement photos, smoky mountain wedding or elopement with us now!
We're offering free hotel stays for your vacation or honeymoon if you book your wedding or elopement with Backpacks and Bow Ties in 2022/2023!