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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:41 PM   #1
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Default Bald Mountain is getting Bald

Still more than a month behind in sorting photos...

Had a chance to check out several trails over at Bald Mountain Scenic Area in nearby Cherokee National Forest recently. The big attraction here is Margarette Falls, and I've posted MANY photos of the falls here before. But this trip was to two of the lesser-known areas - Bullen Hollow and Phillips Hollow.

First up Bullen Hollow Trail: this trail is a rather steep climb out of the hollow and up to the ridgeline. Oaks and Sourwoods were at peak color...
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:43 PM   #2
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It was a very bright, almost summer-like day, but the views across the ridge were anything but summery...
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:45 PM   #3
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The highest parts of the ridge are rocky, thin-soiled and dry. We were hoping to spot some late-season snakes out sunning, but only saw a few skippers and a lot of "bald" trees...
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:48 PM   #4
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Back down the ridge, across the hollow and over to Phillips Hollow Trail. This trail follows the creek (often in the creek) for several miles up a lower valley. Not a place for broad views, but rather the intimate details...

The rapidly "balding" trees filled the streams with leaves - a fine frame to the many small riffles.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:50 PM   #5
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Autumn is our driest season here in East Tennessee, but this mountain stream was still quite full, and full of small waterfalls...
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:53 PM   #6
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While Oaks and Sourwoods were the bright trees up on the ridge, Sugar Maples were the most colorful in these lower, wetter locations.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:55 PM   #7
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And all the little pools were bright with the maple reflections.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:56 PM   #8
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We found one shaded little pool up near the headwaters of the stream, far from the trail and seemingly remote and alone...
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 6:59 PM   #9
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But we soon discovered it was not such a lonely pool! This Pickerel Frog was quite at home in the little pool, and rather disturbed when my tripod leg landed right beside him!!
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 7:01 PM   #10
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By now, the Bald Mt trees are nearly all leafless, and the streams are thick with decaying leaves (excellent food for many stream insects). We hope to have time and opportunity to return to Bald Mt in time for some wintry views.

Hope you enjoyed the autumnal ones, and that you will share your comments & critique.
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