Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Highlands of Roan

Saturday was going to be close to 100 degrees, so I headed for the mountains on the NC/TN line, 2 1/2 hours north to see the blooming rhododendrons with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Here they are!  Not a bloom in sight.  They were guessing this would be the peak week for blooms because of a warm winter, so this coming weekend should be the big show, and I am NOT going back.  Miles of winding, uphill roads on the edges of mountains are not my favorite kind of driving and not very relaxing.  I wish they would have sent out a scout to make sure they were blooming, but that didn't happen.  Hopefully the Father's Day garden tour in Asheville will be much better.

Here and there some were blooming.  These are Catawba Rhodos and only come in shades of purple, not the big red or pink ones I remember growing up in PA.

Since that was a let-down, I decided to walk part of the Appalachian Trail to get to the balds of the highlands.  The section I wanted to see had rare Grays lilies blooming, but when I got to the trailhead to go to this area, there were so many hikers and no place to park that I just took a short walk to see a bald and head on home.  I have heard that the Appalachian Trail can at some points have "people traffic" whereas other parts of the trail you will never see another human.  To get to this trailhead I would have had to park in a ditch a couple miles away like all the young hikers who have four-wheel drive and can push their car out.  I wasn't about to try that.  

Roan Mountain is another one of those rare places that contain Red Spruce and Fir trees not growing anywhere else in the South and rare species of plants and animals.  The likes of Bartram and Muir have visited here, and there used to be a hotel on the mountain for botanists and adventurers, but it no longer stands.  I loved the fragrance of pine in the forest and the fresh cool air.  It was only 60 degrees here ,and it felt wonderful.

This is a bald with open views of the highlands, not the area I wanted to see, but this will do!

On the homefront, my prodigal turtle has returned two years in a row.  Right above my finger is a dot of pink nail polish still there, so I know it's him.

Blackberries are coming in strong.

Princess Maile posing behind some columbine.

Hydrangeas are in bloom everywhere.

Gardenias are starting to bloom and fill the air with fragrance along with the mimosa trees.

A very hot week, every day in the 90s, too hot for me and the dogs, so I put up the mister and Panda and Geisha seem to be enjoying it!

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