This is exactly what I ended up doing. The hike started out very cool and I had on my hoodie to keep me warm, but in quick order the air began to warm up and so did I. Stubbornly, I waited until I'd gained the first ridge before I stopped to shed the sweater and zip off the legs of my convertible pants. I even took some time to lie down and rest before walking out on the exposed rock to take some photos and shoot some video.
After that, I packed up my camera stuff and went back down the trail to my truck. One thing that got to me--and I realize it more and more as the years go by--is that I saw almost no wildlife. That is one thing about the southern Appalachians: they are beautiful landscape, and there are a lot of wild animals in the forests, but those creatures are generally very shy and rarely seen. This is in contrast to the time I have spent in the low country where animals are seen everywhere, and also out west where the critters don't seem to even make an effort to hide. This hike was not much different from many others I have made here in my native mountains. I saw no wildlife and on this trip I didn't even hear very many bird calls.
|A footbridge across a creek.|
|I love hiking through heath tunnels.|
|These forests are certainly not impressive. Logged time and again, made up of young trees.|
|It's always fun to come to the first view along a trail.|
|Spring has certainly arrived, even at 4,000 feet above sea level.|
|I was tired after the hike up and took a few minutes to rest.|
The view that had been waiting for me.
|The view from one of the small cliffs near the top of the ridge.|
|Looking across the wide valley at the opposing mountains.|
|This gnarly tree must certainly be very old.|
|The big mountains in the center on the horizon are the high country in the Shining Rock Wilderness.|
Hiking in the southern Appalachians is a unique experience.
|On the way down I paused to take a photo of the twisted trunks and branches of the mountain laurel that dominated the area along the trail.|