Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Little Walker Mountain

Climbing Little Walker Mountain.

When we first got to the campground, Carole was exhausted--she'd been up for twenty-four hours because of her night job as a surgical tech and wrapping up some chores toward finalizing our packing for the trip. So as soon as we got the trailer set she went right off to sleep.

I took the opportunity to take the Stony Fork/Seven Sisters trails to the summit of Little Walker Mountain. The trail started just a few campsites down from our own. I hiked about half a mile down the Stony Fork Nature Trail to where it intersects with the Seven Sisters Trail. So named because in its five miles it traverses seven distinct peaks on the ridge line of Little Walker Mountain.

The "Seven Sisters" of Little Walker Mountain.

One of the things about the hike was that it was loaded with newly blooming wildflowers. Most of them were quite small, but some of them were larger. I was surprised to see that a number of Catawba rhododendron werz already in full bloom. This is something I didn't expect to see until much later in the month and into June.

It was nice to hike the mountain. I just started walking and set a goal of only going until three in the afternoon. At which point I'd turn around and retrace my steps. The climb was about 1,000 feet, which is a fair amount of vertical. But it was done over the course of about two and a half miles, so it wasn't bad at all. With the temperatures in the low 70s and a constant and quite brisk breeze going, I barely broke a sweat.

Also, I stopped often to take photographs all along the way. I encountered lots of flowers, as I mentioned, but not much in the way of wildlife. I don't know why I didn't see more in the way of critters, but this was the way of it. The only animals of note that I saw were some Black vultures as I got close to the summit. Other than that there wasn't anything to see. But it was still a very peaceful and calming hike.

I stopped for a while at the highest point on the peak--a summit that's at 3340 feet above sea level. That's admittedly not a very high peak--even by Appalachian standards, but the mountain was so green and so bereft of human company that I spent a happy few hours hiking the ridges and coves.

Me and the mountaintop.

Just rhododendron blowing in a cool breeze.

Blooming wild azaleas in the breeze.

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