Appalachian Trail, Siler Bald, NC

September 11, 2007

Today's hike was on the Appalachian Trail west of Franklin, NC. Starting at Winding Stair Gap on Highway 64 west, we did an out and back hike to Siler Bald. Total round trip 8.8 mi.

HIKERS - Phil Achey, John Bellamy, Chuck Crisp, Bill Hunt, Jack Jacobi, Dick Metzgar, Wanda Miller, Wayne Miller, George Otis, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Doug Russell, Dan Ross, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker.

TRAIL INFO. - This portion of the Appalachian Trail starts at an elevation of 3,820 ft. and gradually climbs to 5,216 ft. at the summit of Siler Bald. It is a very nice hike through a beautiful deciduous forest with lush vegetation and prolific wildflowers leading to a beautiful mountain top destination with a fantastic 360 degree view of the mountains.

Directions: From Franklin, NC, take Highway 64 West for about 10 miles and look for the parking lot on the left. (It is just beyond the large rock cliffs on each side of the road) You will see the Appalachian Trail sign.

Another great day for a hike! Partly cloudy and mild with temperatures from the low 60's to mid 70's F.

Hiking distance - 8.8 miles

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: Indian Plaintain, Starry Campion, Heart-leafed Aster, White Woods Aster, White Snakeroot, Horse Balm, Begger's Lice, Black-eyed Susan, Spotted Jewelweed, Southern Harebells, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrods, Silverrod, Perfoliated Aster, Bush Aster, Stiff Aster, Hog Peanut, Black Cohosh, Flowering Spurge, Alumroot, Gerardia, Heal All, Mountain Gentian, Stiff Gentian, Phlox, White Yarrow, Ox-eye Daisy, Spiderwort, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Mullein, Turtleheads and Ladie's Thumb.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: White Breasted Nuthatch, Pileated Woodpecker, Towhee, Broad Wing Hawk and Blue Jay.

scroll down for photos.......

Our starting point for today's hike.
Another great day for a hike on the Appalachian Trail!
We pass through Swinging Lick Gap about a mile into the hike.
Here, we meet a thru-hiker from Pennsylvania. His trail name is "Groundhog" and his dog is "Paige" . .
Walking up the grassy slope to Siler Bald, we can see Lake Nantahala in the valley below.
Spectacular Mountain Views in every direction from the summit of Siler Bald.
Lunchtime at Siler Bald! Elevation 5,216 ft.
Looking from Siler Bald over to Winespring Bald and Wayah Bald.
Headed back down the mountain!
We identified 32 species of wildflowers in bloom today. Also, we saw
several species of wildflowers in the fruit stage (top left and clockwise)
Indian Cucumber Root, Blue Cohosh, Blue-bead Lily, White Baneberry (Doll's Eyes).
The OFHC gang from today's hike (kneeling front l-r) Wanda Miller, Donna Presley, Geri Whitaker, David Whitaker, Chuck Crisp, Dick Metzgar, Tony Presley. (l-r standing) George Otis, John Bellamy, Bill Hunt, Phil Achey, Dan Ross, Wayne Miller, Jack Jacobi, Doug Russell.

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