The View from Young’s Mountain

The eastern Blue Ridge Escarpment in North Carolina runs from South Carolina northeast into Virginia, and the mountains along this upslope average about 2,800 feet in elevation. The Piedmont Plateau, or “Foothills”, as they are called by the natives, averages about 900 feet in elevation. Just northeast of the tourist mecca called Lake Lure, sits 2,800 foot Young’s Mountain. Although the summit is not accessible by car, a road has been built to the 2,500 foot level so homes can be built to take advantage of the dramatic views to the west. The ridge of peaks along that impenetrable wall are over 1,000 feet higher than Young’s, and offer a breathtaking panorama of Nature’s awesome creation. Below is a full panorama of this impressive wall. Click on the image to see the larger version.
Lake Lure Mountain Panorama

Mt. Shumont is the tallest peak at 4,000 feet, and a difficult hiking trail will take you to the summit.

Rumbling Bald Mountain Face
This view toward the south and Lake Lure shows 3,900 foot Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance, with 2,800 foot Rumbling Bald Mountain, with its exposed granite face, to the right.

Rumbling Bald Granite Face
A closer inspection shows the 500 foot tall granite slab, along with smaller outctoppings. This area is popular among rock climbers, and at it’s base, the giant boulders that have tumbled down the slope offer challenging obstacles for devotees of another sport called Bouldering.

Black Mountains from Young's Mountain
To the northwest are the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi, the Black Mountains, where the tallest peak, Mt. Mitchell, is shown here in the center.

This short video shows me exploring the area, with Mt. Shumont in the distance.

Buffalo Cliffs at Lake Lure
Driving back down the mountain, the view to the south in summer is a green one.

Summer has Arrived in Otter Creek Valley

With these long days and short nights, the valley is as green as ever, and with recent rains, the prospects for a lush summer are good. The Wild Turkeys have fledged a large brood, and the deer have been especially active.

Sunrise Horsetop Mountain
Horsetop Mountain catches the first morning rays on the western rim of the valley.

Bear Gap Mountain view
Hunter and Buddy explore the road beneath Bear Gap Mountain.

Otter Pond Fence
Otter Pond is surrounded by Blackberry vines and thick vegetation.

Lavender Bee Balm mixes with ripening Blackberries

Lavender Bee Balm mixes with ripening Blackberries

Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed

Brushy Top Mountain at Sunrise
Carolina Parkway heads due north toward Brushy Top Mountain at sunrise.

Buddy at Otter Pond

Buddy at Otter Pond

With recent 55 degree mornings, a heavy mist has covered Otter Pond.

A  wildfire in the vicinity makes for a strange sunrise over the mist covered pond.

A wildfire in the vicinity makes for a strange sunrise over the mist covered pond.

Showy Carolina Rhododendron blooms along the roads and Otter Creek

Showy Carolina Rhododendron blooms along the roads and Otter Creek

Wolf Pen Mountain Mist
Wolf Pen Mountain is barely visible through a thick morning mist.

Dick's Mountain at sunrise
Dick’s Mountain marks the southern rim of the valley. Old roads are barely passable with the heavy summer growth.

Horsetop Mountain Sunset
We end where we began, with a vibrant sunset behind Horsetop Mountain.

Tiger Lilies Along Montford Cove Road

Carolina Vann:

Two years ago I did this post, and as the Tiger Lilies are disappearing for another year, I wanted to make sure that everyone had the chance to see them in their full glory.

Originally posted on Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog:

Every June, roadsides and gardens throughout North America are ablaze with the bright orange blossoms of the Tiger Lily. Originally from China and Japan, early colonists wanted this hardy plant in their gardens. Just north of the house along Montford Cove Road is an especially dense profusion of these striking flowers. Both sides of the road are lined with the bright green leaves and showy stripped petals of this Asian import. They are in the family of day lilies, and follow the brightest light of the day.

Tiger Lily Profusion

Close up. you can appreciate the intricate construction of the flowers. Surprisingly the entire plant is edible, with the underground tubulars being the best of all. When sauteed with lemon and butter, they taste like sweet potatoes. The stems are like scallions without the kick, and the flowers keep their crispness even in hot butter, and can be visually usefull in salads and…

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Lost Cove Creek and Hunt Fish Falls in Avery County

East of Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway is a small creek named Lost Cove Creek. After driving a few miles from the Parkway, you’ll find a trailhead, and hiking that steep trail for forty-five minutes will bring you to Hunt Fish Falls. Because of it’s remoteness, it’s never very crowded. It’s a very tranquil place, with many small creeks feeding into the main stream. A large pool at the base of the falls makes the perfect swimming hole.

Hunt Fish Falls

The video below will take you around the creek and falls in a most relaxing way.

Storms Along the Blue Ridge

With higher midday temperatures come the thunderstorms, and today was no exception. Driving home from a trip to Rutherfordton, an approaching tempest prompted me to stop along the way and capture the awesome beauty and power of these giant systems.

Hickorynut Mountain Storm

This view from Freemantown Road shows 3,100 foot Hickorynut Mountain on the horizon, with Bear Gap, Brushy Top, and Oak Mountains below her.

Wolf Pen Mountain Storm

Fifteen minutes later, a stop on a ridge along Arrowood Road captured the approaching storm as it overtook 2,700 Stone Mountain, and took aim at 2,800 foot Wolf Pen Mountain. The temperature dropped from 87 to 69 in less than twenty minutes. Welcome to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Summer.

Coyote Pups in Otter Creek Valley

High Lodges at Otter Creek Road

Seeing a coyote at anytime is a rare occurrence. I’ve lived here for six years, and I’ve seen four coyotes out of the corner of my eye as they crossed a road. Seeing baby coyotes must be even more rare, but a few days ago that all changed. I was cruising slowly along my road higher up the mountain, when I saw these little guys at a curve up ahead. I sat silently for awhile, and they came closer, romping and playing along the road. This is a private road with a cul de sac and only one house, so traffic is not a problem here. This is what I saw.

Coyote Pup on Fibber Magee Drive

Coyote Pup on Fibber Magee Drive

Coyote Puppies

Coyote Puppies

Always Curious

Always Curious

"I Hate Fleas"

“I Hate Fleas”

Is this a good pose?

Is this a good pose?

After seeing the puppies, I captured this sunset view of Roan Horsetop Mountain along the western rim of the valley.
Roan Horsetop Mountain at sunset

I made this very short video of the coyote pups. I had never seen a coyote pup before this.

Miami’s Flowering Trees of June

Carolina Vann:

As June approaches, I wanted to reblog this piece from last year. There’s no place like Miami in June when it comes to flowering trees…. Enjoy.

Originally posted on Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog:

I realize that posting photos of Miami has nothing to do with the Blue Ridge Mountains, but when I spent this week in South Florida, and marveled at the beauty of these magnificent trees, I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. Every June, the tree canopy is ablaze with the vibrant reds and oranges of the Royal Poinciana tree, also referred to as a “Flamboyant”, for obvious reasons. The tree is a native of India and Southeast Asia, but the Spanish knew a good thing when they found it, and brought the plant to Hispanola and Cuba early in their voyages.

Royal Poinciana Canopy

There are two species of this tree. One has red and white blossoms, and the other has orange and white flowers. Often you’ll find them growing side by side, as in the photos above and below. Make sure you click on the smaller photos, and move through the images…

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