#18  Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina    (3,560 ft.)

There are currently grand plans to build a bigger and better summit complex at the top of Sassafras Mountain, which is fine with me, because my experience there in 2010 was, shall we say, underwhelming. I also see that some nice folks made improvements to the summit marker, which was formerly just the USGS benchmark fitted with a cement shoe. Mazel tov, stewards of Sassafras.

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I see on the great and powerful Wikipedia that the North Carolina side of the mountain was once owned by Tarheel Congressman Charles Hart Taylor, among the wealthiest and, allegedly, most corrupt members of Congress (no ethics charges were ever brought against him). Whether corrupt or not, you have to applaud his legacy on Sassafras: Taylor sold some 8,000 acres of the mountain in 2010 to The Conservation Fund, which then donated the summit area to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. I don't know how much the sale was for; maybe someone got fleeced. But the current pie-in-the-sky plans for South Carolina's own magnificent Tower of Babel wouldn't be possible otherwise. 

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Now let's take a brief moment to mention South Carolina's flag. Surely the design was filched from a Persian Gulf emirate. Can't you see it flying proudly above an oil refinery deep in the desert sand?

Alas, this is another highpoint for which my visual record is currently rather poor (see here for my lame excuse). So I may indeed have to revisit Sassafras one day, certainly once they've built that swank lookout, although the tower itself, at least in the planning stages, strikes me as more Rem Koolhaas than what one might  expect from the Palmetto State's typical architectural idiom.

I did make a short little video (to be posted soon) of the vista from the rustic lookout just down the trail from the summit, as of now the nicest spot on the mountain.


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