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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:37 AM   #1
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Default Probably last photos with K-M

Had mentioned in an earlier posting about some problems with my Pentax K-M after a recent spill in a creek. It is still misbehaving, but still capable of taking good photos.

I will be leading a hike next weekend for the Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally, so had to check out the trail in advance. "Official" hike is from Hampton Creek Cove up to Yellow Mt Gap, but decided to go on beyond the gap on the "trial run," and make it a good 14 mile day hike.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:40 AM   #2
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Hampton Creek Cove is a lush natural area, partly maintained as pasture for rare bird habitat, partly allowed to mature to diverse forest for rare plant habitat.

Lower elevations are great for insect life too, like this Fragile Forktail (a tiny damselfly) and Eastern Tailed Blue (a timy butterfly).
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:43 AM   #3
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Lower elevations are also idea for mid-season wildflowers.

Here are some Fringed Phacelia (you can see where the "fringed" part comes from), Hobblebush (tends to bend down and re-sprout, so it would "hobble" you to try to walk through a thicket of it), and Fire Pink (in the Pink family, but fiery red).
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:46 AM   #4
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And a few more from the lower elevation plants:

Red Trillium (comes in both red and yellow varieties, but same species), Wild Comfrey (close kin to the medicinal plant), and Squirrel Corn (supposedly named for corn-like roots).
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:49 AM   #5
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Our trail (called the Overmountain Victory Trail) leaves the Natural Area and enters Cherokee National Forest. Here the real cliimbing starts - trail is steeper, but still rich with discovery. We saw lots of wildlife sign, but our frisky dogs scared off all the "critters."

Soon reached Yellow Mt Gap. At these higher elevations, spring is just beginning to green the landscape...
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:51 AM   #6
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Here we saw ferns just starting to unroll, higher elevation plants like Bluets, and early season blooms like Trout Lily and Spring Beauty...
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:52 AM   #7
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We also found great views back to the old barn, which has been converted to an Appalachian Trail shelter.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:53 AM   #8
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We followed the AT on to Little Hump Mountain to enjoy the wide views...
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:54 AM   #9
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And then on through fields of wildflowers and up to Hump Mountain...
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 6:57 AM   #10
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Soon before we reached Hump Mt, the camera quit working entirely (perhaps some circuit overheating in all the bright sun?), so I can't show you the amazing views from this high grassy bald. You'll just have to come hike it yourself someday!

We did come home from the hike safely, and found some very good news photographically, which I will share in another thread.

Hope you enjoyed a last few photos from the K-M, as well as the high country hike, and that you will share your comments & critique!
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