Roan Mountain, there may be no other place I would rather hike and Wednesday, Deb and I headed up to the Roan Rhododendron Gardens for one final look at these wonderful flowers.
Today, I bypassed the crowd at Carvers Gap (oh, I can always hike out of there), but drove up to the Roan Rhododendron Gardens. We parked at the old Cloudland Hotel parking area and hiked the trail of the same name. We made a detour to the off-trail overlook, a favorite of mine.
Then it was on to the world's largest natural rhododendron garden. If you are familiar with this blog you know I was up there last week. Then the blooms on the Catawba's weren't at peak and today, just slightly past. But it just wasn't as good as last year (first photo below). One of the Forest Service people said it was a "growth" year. Anyway, there was still some nice blooms.
Then we headed up the Cloudland Trail to the Roan High Bluff. This was my second time out on this trail as it is a pleasant, just over a mile hike (one-way) through Red Spruce and Frasier Fir to an excellent overlook. I want to do this in the winter, I will have to snowshoe up.
Then it was back the way we came, but before leaving it was a tour of the old hotel site before heading off the mountain. I got an added Rhododendron bonus as the Rosebay variety were blooming at the Roan Mountain State Park Visitor Center...nice!
Then it was back to Johnson City, which included lunch/dinner at Freddy's. Anyway, like I always say "day on the mountain is better than any day your not."