Appalachian Trail - Winding Stair Gap - Siler Bald - NC

Today's hike was on the Appalachian Trail starting at Winding Stair Gap (highway 64 West of Franklin) and hiking to the summit of Siler Bald and back by the shelter loop. Total hike - 9 miles.

HIKERS - John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Pam Euliss, Dave Hinson, Bill Hunt, Don Johnson, Linda Johnson, Dick Metzgar, Bruce O'Connor, Jeanne O'Connor, Don Preece, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Joe Raguckas, Dan Ross, Doug Russell, Lynne Saporito, Pom Sinnock, Carole Wintle and Jack Wintle.

TRAIL INFORMATION - A great hike on the Appalachian Trail in NC. Awesome mountain views, a rich wildflower habitat, a birders paradise, all make this a favorite hike. The trail gains approximately 1400 feet in elevation, so some rate the hike strenuous. The last quarter mile of the hike is on a side trail up the grassy slope to the summit. This portion is definitely strenuous but very much worth the effort with fantastic views from the top.

Today's hiking distance - 9 miles with large elevation changes - moderately strenuous.

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!  Fair with temperatures ranging from the upper 40's to the upper 60's F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Wild Geranium, Solomon's Seal, False Solomon's Seal, Wood Betony,Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Lyre-leafed Sage, Vasey's Trillium, Large-flowered Trillium, Purple Erect Trillium, Blackberry, Deerberry, Buckberry, Strawberry, Heart-leafed Golden Alexander, Golden Alexander, Dutchman's Pipe, Oilnut, Cinquefoil, Hooked Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Squawroot, Purple Violet, Robin's Plantain, Umbrella Leaf, Dogwood, Rattlesnake Weed, Yellow Star Grass, Perfioliated Bellwort, Yellow Ladyslipper, Yellow Mandarin, Wood vetch, Bluet, Foamflower, Indian Cucumber, Mayapple, Meadow Rue, Red Baneberry, White Baneberry, Blue Cohosh, Green-striped Maple, Wood Anemone, Toothwort, frazier Magnolia, Yellow Buckeye, Serviceberry and Sweet Cicily.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Tufted Titmouse, Towhee, Pileated Woodpecker, Darkeyed Junco, Red-eyed Vireo, Veery, Yellow-throated Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Turkey Vulture, Summer Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue Jay, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Robin, Hooded Warbler and Chimney Swift.

scroll down for photos.......

Winding Stair Gap trailhead.
Nice falls early into the hike.
Crossing the foot-bridge just below the falls.
A rare find - a cluster of Yellow Lady Slippers.
Crossing the creek.
Climbing the grassy slope to the summit of Siler Bald.
As we climb the slope, we can see Nantahala Lake in the valley.
Zoom photo of the lake.
Spectacular views from the summit.
A great spot to take a break or have lunch.
Headed back down the slope to the Appalachian Trail.
Lunch at the Siler Bald shelter.
Some of today's wildflowers (top left then clockwise)
Yellow Lady Slipper, Mayapple, Clintonia, Grandiflora Trillium.
Panorama at Siler Bald.
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r kneeling)Dan Ross, Tony Presley, Bill Hunt, Carole Wintle, Lynne Saporito, Jeanne O'Connor, Bruce O'Connor, Donna Presley, Linda Johnson and June Bellamy. (l-r standing)Dave Hinson, Dick Metzgar, Jack Wintle, Don Johnson, Joe Raguckas, Pam Euliss, Pom Sinnock, Don Preece, John Bellamy and Doug Russell.

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