I was bored and needed to clear my head, so I headed into the mountains again. I took the same route I took on Memorial Day. It was later in the day though, so there was this wonderful late afternoon golden light that was just magical.
There was no one at the overlook where I stopped to take photos, and no signs of civilization at all, not even any cars on the road. I felt like the only person in the world, and realized these mountains looked exactly this way thousands of years ago. This is what the native Americans would have seen, long before there were any paved roads.
I had no plans for Memorial Day and no one to spend it with, and I was going stir crazy sitting around the house, with nothing to do but watch the depressing news. So I decided to go for a drive.
I’m lucky to live very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, so I decided to drive south along it into the Plott Balsams, about 50 miles from my house. This range (which is east of the Smokies) contains the highest peak along the parkway (6,053 feet). The highest peak on the East Coast is Mount Mitchell (6,674 feet) in the Black Mountains, but that’s about 50 miles in the other direction.
I moved to western North Carolina in 1993, and I remember these high peaks you see pictured here used to be almost bald and covered with the dead white remains of the Frasier firs, which were almost made extinct by an aphid infestation that killed almost all the trees at this elevation. Now they are lush and green again, but in a few of the photos, you can still see the white trunks of the dead trees peeking through the green. I love the contrast of the dark green of the firs and balsams against the light green of the deciduous trees (which stop growing above 4,500 – 5,000 feet). The pink flowered shrubs are wild rhododendron.
Seagulls all facing the sunset. You should have heard the din they made!
I haven’t had time to write much, so I’ll just share the photos I took yesterday and caption them. We had a wonderful day. It was a little too cold to swim, but we waded in the shallow water on the beach, spent some time relaxing in the hot tub, went back to the beach at sunset where I took most of these photos, and then went to a party at my son’s apartment where we met some of his friends. It was a fun day!
I found this shrub interesting. Notice the fall colors on some of the leaves. I have no idea what it is.
Looking back on the beach just before sunset.
A romantic picture of my daughter and her friend as the sun sets over the Gulf.
I don’t know what these are exactly but since they were at the top of the beach, they appear to be the stumps of some kind of shrubs where the tides have come in and cut them off.
Another look at the stumps. I think they’re fascinating.