Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I will be back on the trail, beginning from Beacon Heights, and hiking two days to Boone and Blowing Rock. As there does not appear to be any good places to camp about 10m prior to and all road walk about 15m after, I am currently looking for a good place to stay while passing through, so if anyone has any suggestions, such as lawn camping or welcoming homes or cheap lodging...
First a couple of cool links to check out and some quick clarifications:
Check out the article by Johnathan Poston, about moi, "the foraging hiker", at the Mountain Xpress website,
For a cool site to check out to help support our, oh so very important pollinators, the honeybees, check out http://www.ashevillepollinatorweek.com/
I did enjoy views of Shortoff Mountain, but not from Shortoff Mountain. Also, I mentioned passing Pitch Pine, this was not the case as Pitch Pine has needles in fascicles of 3, whereas this pine had needles in fascicles of 2, as well as several other differences such as growth pattern and cone shape. The pine that I passed in great abundance just before dropping into the gorge and just as I climbed out was Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens). This pine is unique to the Appalachian Mountains from PA down to GA, and according to the National Audobon Society Field Guide, the only pine that is restricted to such a region- our own special pine.
|Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens) - check out that fat round cone, whose scales are described in by Nat'l Audobon Guide as, "thickend and keeled with a stout curved spine."|
|Pinus pungens green cones still on tree; here you can also see the thick somewhat twisted needles on strong branches(these are not too kind to brush through when on trail, not soft and pliable like White Pine)|
|Oh! I must show these off some, as I was surprised to see them so soon! |
Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.)
|Yarrow leaf (Achillea millefolium)|
|This little guy was munching on some False Hellebore. As I got close to take his pic, he stretched his antennae as far as he could to make my acquaintance|
|Now there's some long legs, however I guess this walking stick hasn't evolved camo coloring for a Kelty backpack yet|
|Views of the Linville Gorge|
|a Harper Creek waterfall|
|Some nice easy walkin'|