A Perfect Day on Roan

May 13, 2008

This day dawned blue-sky as per the weather report - I planned a long day in the warm sun on the grassy balds of Roan Mountain.

It started with a trek Trail-north from Carvers Gap across the Roan and Jane Balds shown here, then a descent to Yellow Mountain Gap where I "tagged up" with my previous endpoint and ate lunch in a meadow with a hummingbird and a crowd of chestnut-sided warblers.
After returning to the starting point, I hiked an extra 2 miles in the opposite direction over forested Roan High Knob (the distant dark one in the photo) to where I had planted my bicycle to ride downhill to the car at day's end.

The famed rhododendron gardens are not in bloom yet - at this 6000 foot altitude, that won't happen until late June. But as the picture shows, the alders are doing their thing. Alders are here as a relict population - a New England plant that spread south during the Ice Age and has remained in the high altitude spots like this.

Can you see the survey benchmark for the AT, hiding under the alder?

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