We’ve been getting rain almost every day for the last few weeks so when the precipitation probability dipped below 50% for a few hours on Sunday, we loaded cameras, dog, snacks and drinks into the truck and took a drive into the Nantahala National Forest.
There’s a pretty good park road that goes up to two balds which are close together and separated by a high saddle, Wayah Bald and Winespring Bald. A bald is a peak in the Appalachians which has no trees. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, we have no alpine timberline – the elevations aren’t high enough, so the lack of trees is something of a mystery. At the top of Wayah Bald, a stone observation tower was built in the 1930s for forest fire detection and, although it is no longer used for that purpose, it is still maintained for tourists and hikers. Ordinarily, the views are spectacular, but with so much recent rain, clouds and fog obscured the distance.
On the way back down, we decided to have a look at Winespring Bald. The road leading to it was well-maintained, but the view at the top is somewhat spoiled by a proliferation of antennae.
There is, however, a pretty good reason to return later in the summer:
In addition to the antennae, the Bald is home to a lot of blueberry bushes. I will have to look up the regulations regarding berry-picking in National Forests….