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Home > Vacation Photos > North Carolina - June 2003

In Search of Rhododendrons


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I really, really needed to get away for a while. I had a grueling May and it was starting to get hot in Florida. I knew where to go. The mountains beckoned. Here are some pictures from my quest for spring blooming rhododendrons. I got there a little late but nevertheless did some hiking in places like Craggy Gardens, Mount Mitchell, and Roan Mountain (where I finally found the blooming rhododendrons!).

24 files, last one added on Aug 02, 2004
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Random files - North Carolina - June 2003
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Mountains to Sea Trail130 viewsThe white circle marks one of the many branches of the Mountains to Sea Tral (MST) in North Carolina.
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Hiking Trail at Craggy Gardens181 viewsCraggy Gardens is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Aside from being a popular picnic area with a huge parking lot, it has a hiking trail to a summit covered in rhododendrons. When they are blooming, the whole summit area is pink. (But not this time. I was too late.)
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Mount Mitchell State Park133 viewsThe next day, I decided to skip the rhododendron hunt and do one of my favorite hikes: the Deep Gap Trail from the summit of Mount Mitchell to Mount Craig to Big Tom, and then down to the Buncombe Horse Range Trail 1000 feet below, and then, of course, back to the Mount Mitchell Summit.
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High Altitude Bee118 viewsI found this fuzzy little critter at the top of Mt. Craig (6,663 feet). He's a little dizzy from the altitude, as you can see. That's not a flower he landed on!
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Black Mountain Summits138 viewsAnother name for the Deep Gap Trail is the Black Mountain Summit Trail. The reasons are obvious. This is a view from Big Tom Mountain looking north at some of the other peaks.
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Pointing Back to Big Tom116 viewsI had made it from the summit of Mt. Mitchell to the summit of Mt. Craig to the summit of Big Tom and then to the summit of Balsam Cone. Then, I descended 1000 feet to the Buncombe Horse Range Trail, which I met right here. The well-weathered marker points back up the rugged Big Tom Trail, which intersects the Big Tom Trail at Big Tom Gap.
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Old Mitchell Trail160 viewsAfter hiking a few miles on the Buncombe Horse Range Trail, I intersected with the Old Mitchell Trail at Commissary Ridge, which would lead me back to the summit of Mount Mitchell. One mile (straight up).
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Columbine174 viewsThis is a little different from the red and yellow columbines I've seen, but I guessed it was still a columbine by the leaf shape and the flower configuration. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.

Last additions - North Carolina - June 2003
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The Obligatory Poison Ivy Picture215 viewsThis, from a city park in the north end of Asheville, North Carolina.Aug 02, 2004
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Abandoned Building183 viewsHaving finally found my rhododendrons, I could relax and find miscellaneous photo-ops. I liked the looks of this abandoned building.Aug 02, 2004
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Shady Path on Roan Mountain223 viewsA foggy day at the summit created this beautiful, misty view of one of the accessible trails through the woods and to the rhododendron gardens at Roan MountainAug 02, 2004
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Columbine174 viewsThis is a little different from the red and yellow columbines I've seen, but I guessed it was still a columbine by the leaf shape and the flower configuration. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.Aug 02, 2004
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Roan Mountain Scene178 viewsSo, as directed by the folks at Craggy Gardens, I went to Roan Mountain, which is on the Tennessee/North Carolina border, in search of rhododendrons. The first thing I spotted was in the parking lot, and here it is. The girl who got out of this car looked like she fit perfectly.Aug 02, 2004
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A Close-up While I'm Here165 viewsTook me long enough to find some rhododendrons, so I wanted to have some pictures.Aug 02, 2004
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Old Mitchell Trail160 viewsAfter hiking a few miles on the Buncombe Horse Range Trail, I intersected with the Old Mitchell Trail at Commissary Ridge, which would lead me back to the summit of Mount Mitchell. One mile (straight up).Aug 02, 2004
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Rhododendrons, Finally!194 viewsHere, finally, at Roan Mountain, a bumblebee and I find some rhododendrons for our mutual enjoyment.Aug 02, 2004