We stopped at a picnic table in Maggie Valley to eat our lunch and build up our energy before hitting the trail. This entertaining fellow decided to come check us out. Evidently we were not all that interesting, but my purse was. I had to move it out of his way several times.
We spotted a bit of bright color early in. The mountains are lovely this time of year and the temperature was perfect for the day we had planned. I always associate mushrooms with autumn, but they are visible year round. I would not be brave enough to pick wild mushrooms, but I think they are fascinating and I love to take pictures of them (some may hide fairies you know see By Special Request , Blue Fairy , or Hodge Podge, for example).
We reached our destination, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, early in the afternoon. Heintooga is a 25 mile long, one way, unpaved road just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It has lovely picnic areas at the top and the bottom comes out near Cherokee North Carolina. We have been up here before and usually we park at the top, walk for an hour or so and walk back. This time, we decided to drive down a ways, find a safe pull off, then walk a bit, return to the car and repeat the process.
Our plan was a good one. The road is clearly marked at the top as one way so there is not much traffic. The few people who do use it are there for the scenery and they are going slow (usually with lovely smiles on their faces, it is that nice). There are little waterfalls and streams in several places along the way.
I saw this and it reminded me of Jack's Beanstalk. I could see climbing that. It almost appears to be braided and tied in knots. That gets the imagination going. I wonder if I could add some Fairies climbing it?
Top of the Vine
This is the same vine, further up. Nature is always interesting. Climbing or touching anything in the woods, is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing. The vine could turn out to be poison ivy (Fairies would probably be immune, right?).
The road turns and twists gently down the mountain side. You don't have to walk very far to find something lovely to photograph.
Bend in the road
What is up ahead? I love the way the light filters through the trees in the afternoon.
Yellow Fringed Orchid
This was a lucky find. There were only three or four plants and I have not seen them before. I identified it with the help of US Wildflowers .
This one was a little further down the same trail. It is not open enough for me to attempt to look it up, but seeing it and knowing that it will be covered in flowers soon, makes me smile.
Here is another one. We had a light rain shower. If I had found this during the rain, would I have found a fairy sheltering under neath?
This is aways down one of the trails that connect with Heintooga Round Bottom Road. I love the play of light and shadow through the trees. So very atmospheric. There was no one else on the trail but us. So peaceful.
I could walk for hours in places like this. The day was wonderful. The temperature was just right and the light sprinkle hardly reached us through the trees.
Our trusty navigation system was a little baffled. We told it we were going to Cherokee. When we first turned on the Blue Ridge, it kept trying to turn us around. It eventually gave up and routed us through the parkway. When we turned onto Heintooga Round Bottom Road, it was confused again, apparently as it is not a paved road, the system does not show it. As you can see, it finally just told us to "Continue to roadway".
Nearly to Cherokee
This is close to where Heintooga comes back out onto the paved road. Still lovely, now it goes both ways. From here we drove on in to Cherokee North Carolina. There were BEARS, (you will have to wait till next time for those pics though).
My Sweet Husband
One of the trail heads we turned down while we walked. What a wonderful way to spend a day and what a wonderful person to spend it with. I am so very lucky!
Speaking of lucky, this is what is waiting for me for breakfast. It is a veggie Pizza made from scratch just for me (OK so I have to share it with the Chef, but I like sharing with him).
Hope your weekend was as nice.