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Old May 24, 2009, 7:51 PM   #1
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Default Unaka Mountain

Back from another short trip up Unaka Mountain in Unicoi County TN. There are some huge Red Maples on the lower portion of the mountain (not real happy with this shot - suggestions gratefully accepted):
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:52 PM   #2
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Unaka is thick with rhododendrons. The old mountain folks called these places "laurel slicks" - dense thickets of rhododendron where the sun barely penetrates. But yesterday they were starting to bloom:
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:53 PM   #3
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And some were in full bloom:
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:54 PM   #4
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There were no other hikers on the entire trail (almost 10 miles round trip), but there were many other small travellers:
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:55 PM   #5
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The higher country is home to some unique plants. Here are two wild members of the lily family that were blooming up near the top. First is Indian Cucumber Root:
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:56 PM   #6
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And also Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis). I took a LOT of shots of this rather rare lily, not sure if I like this one. What do you think?
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:57 PM   #7
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The light was rather bright and harsh in places. Was it too harsh for these ferns?
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:58 PM   #8
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The main reason for the hike was the views on top. Here's one view from Stamping Ground Ridge:
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Old May 24, 2009, 7:59 PM   #9
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And one view from Horseback Ridge:
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Old May 24, 2009, 8:01 PM   #10
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There is a road across Unaka Mt, although most of us prefer to hike. But the road itself is rather scenic.

Any comments or suggestions for improving any of these photos gratefully accepted!!
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