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Old Oct 31, 2011, 7:58 PM   #1
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Default Blue Skies over Yellow Mountain

The hike from Hampton Creek Cove to Yellow Mountain (and on to Hump Mt) is a great trip at any season. Plenty of elevation change, plenty of delightful & varied details, and some fine views as well. But it's rare to get a clear day in the mountains. So a forecast of almost cloudless skies on a recent day off spurred me on to revisit this favorite hike.

We began in the State Natural Area, just outside the town of Roan Mountain Tennessee. Much of this Area is maintained as a high-elevation pasture, to protect habitats of some rare birds.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:01 PM   #2
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There was a definite nip in the air, and a bit of early morning mist down in the meadows...
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:04 PM   #3
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This was the morning of the first widespread frost - just a light frost, but enough to kill the most sensitive vegetation...
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:06 PM   #4
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There were still plenty of apples hanging on to the old trees - we were surprised that the Black Bears had not found them yet!

PS - which orientation (landscape or portrait) do you prefer for this shot?
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:07 PM   #5
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It's only a few miles of uphill hiking to climb beyond the meadows and into the rich forests. Beeches were still holding their golden leaves...
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:13 PM   #6
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Beech foliage made a great frame for the lovely little trout stream (Hampton Creek).

(any preference among these perspectives?)
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:15 PM   #7
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Although frisky dogs kept most of the wildlife away, we did notice one butterfly out! Despite the frost & cold, a Variegated Fritillary was working the few remaining blooms (mostly red clover and asters)...
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:18 PM   #8
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And the last of the season's blooms (here in NE Tennessee) is Witch Hazel. There was plenty of Witch Hazel blooming along the stream banks. Not sure what pollinates these late-blooming shrubs, but they sure do brighten the October and November days...
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:19 PM   #9
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A few more miles of mostly uphill takes us from the State Natural Area into the National Forest, and on up to Yellow Mountain Gap (and the Appalachian Trail). Here there's an old barn that has been converted to a fine trail shelter.
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Old Oct 31, 2011, 8:23 PM   #10
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The old barn - now called the Overmountain Victory Shelter - is one of the few man-made landmarks visible as you hike on up from the gap towards Little Hump...
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