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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:21 AM   #1
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Default Bald Mountain Ridge Scenic Area

Bald Mountain is a designated Scenic Area in nearby Cherokee National Forest. Had a bit of time off yesterday, and so, despite the forecast of thunderstorms, decided to take the dogs for a hike up Bald Mt to the Appalachian Trail. It was not a great day for photos - lots of rain & fog, and I had to keep the dogs leashed because this area has a rather large Black Bear population. But here are a few shots I managed between the rains and while holding the frisky dogs.
First two views of the forest here. Much of this forest is dominated by Hemlock trees, which are dying due to a non-native bug called the Hemlock Adelgid.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:22 AM   #2
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Dying hemlocks is a real problem here - as they are the primary shade tree for the many small streams, the primary nesting tree for many unsual and lovely birds (Veery, Winter Wren, etc.), But dying hemlocks are great "dinner" for some bracket fungus.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:24 AM   #3
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These rich forests are a great habitat for many small creatures, including Giant Millipedes.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:25 AM   #4
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The trails here cross many creeks many times - no bridges, often ankle to knee deep. Here's one of the many creeks.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:27 AM   #5
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There's also many waterfalls in this area. One called Pete's Branch Falls (also locally known as Sierra Falls) is rather high, but usually just a trickle - even at times of relatively high water. Here are two views - which do you prefer?
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:28 AM   #6
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Some rather interesting trail signs as we approach the top.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:29 AM   #7
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Was hoping for some good views at the top, but, as you can see, the fog and rain moved in - no views at all!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:30 AM   #8
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But the rain was good for some high country blooms in a natural bald at the top.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:31 AM   #9
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On the way back down, passed a horse camp that was FULL of Pipevine Swallowtails - all eagerly "puddling" on the manure puddles. One was kind enough to land on my finger!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 8:32 AM   #10
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Hope to return to this area soon on a sunny day, and find some of the great views. Hope you enjoy these, and will share your suggestions!
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