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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:30 PM   #1
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Default Roan Mountain to Grassy Ridge

Early June is Rhododendron time at Roan Mountain, when the Catawba Rhododendrons put on an amazing display across the highlands of the Roan. A late frost and a recent prolonged dry spell made this year's display a bit less bright than usual... But any excuse is a good reason for a hike in the high country!
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:32 PM   #2
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Roan Mountain is right at the Tennessee/North Carolina border, crossed by the Appalachian Trail, and a very popular hiking spot. Early morning light sure brings out the green of the grassy balds at the Roan.
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:34 PM   #3
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Most of the Roan is open country - grassy balds, thickets, etc. But there are some forested areas - with a few ancient trees (like this huge old Yellow Birch).
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:37 PM   #4
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Flame Azalea is Rhododendron's close cousin. We most frequently find the orange variety, but here (and also at Gregory Bald), there are more color variations...
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:42 PM   #5
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In our haste to get to the big blooms, we almost missed these tiny flowers that are also at home at the Roan. Ragged Fringed Orchid is easy to overlook, but worth a second glance...
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:43 PM   #6
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Catawba Rhododendrons were in full bloom, despite the weather-related damage.
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:48 PM   #7
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Roan is a great place for mammal and bird watching. But we had very few opportunities for wildlife watching on this hike - frisky dogs means few critters! At least this Junco was kind enough to ignore the puppies...
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Old Jun 25, 2012, 8:49 PM   #8
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Hiked on out to Grassy Ridge, and then back down to Carver's Gap: an easy little hike among the blooming things! Hope you enjoyed the hike, and will share your comments & critique.
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 4:57 PM   #9
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Splendid landscapes and fabulous florals and 2 great junco shots (the second junco is the winner for me). Mole, you are indeed a lucky man to live and work in such a beautiful area.

Lou
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Old Jun 26, 2012, 7:26 PM   #10
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+1 to Lou's comments, I really like the composition and overall appearance of the 3rd and last images of the series. The rocks in both anchor the image and provide a scale. Nice job again Mole

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