Appalachian Trail - Wayah Bald, NC - June 2, 2009

Today's hike was on the Appalachian Trail from the Wayah Crest Picnic Area to Wayah Bald in NC. It was a partly cloudy day with awesome views from the Wayah Bald Tower. There was only a 10% chance of an isolated shower and we got one during the last quarter mile of our hike including thunder and pea-sized hail! A historic day for the OFHC since this is the first hailstorm that we have encountered in all our years of hiking! Another great day for a hike!

HIKERS - John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Karen Brown, Phil Brownrigg, Greta Driggers, Jim Driggers, Pam Euliss, Dave Hinson, Jeanne O'Connor, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Carole Raguckas, Joe Raguckas, Vic Robson, Dan Ross, Doug Russell, Lynne Saporito, Rachael Saporito, Pom Sinnock and Dave Standard.

TRAIL INFORMATION - A very scenic portion of the A.T. that includes a very lush wildflower environment in a predominately hardwood forest in the NC mountains. The views at Wayah Bald are spectacular. The Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail merge for a couple of miles along this section. The elevation gain going out is large and this makes the hike somewhat strenuous.

Today's hiking distance - 8.5 miles with large elevation changes - somewhat strenuous.

Directions: From Franklin, travel west on US 64 for 3 miles to Old Murphy Road where there is a Wayah Bald sign. Turn right and drive .2 mile to Wayah Road (SR 1310). Turn left and continue for 9 miles to Wayah Gap and FR 69. There is an Appalachian Trail crossing sign. (Wayah Crest Picnic Area is on the left.)

Another great day for a hike!  Fair to partly cloudy with a brief thunderstorm including hail near the end of the hike. Temperatures ranged from 62-72 degrees F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Tall Bluet, Heart-leafed Golden Alexander, Golden Alexander, Witch Hobble, Maple-leafed Virburnam, Blackberry, Deerberry, Strawberry, False Solomon's Seal, Solomon's Seal, Cow Wheat, Cinquefoil, Robin's Plantain, Fire Pink, Indian Physic, Clintonia, Hooked Buttercup, Tall Buttercup, Rattlesnake Weed, Yellow Star Grass, Four-leafed Milkweed, Squawroot, Meadow Rue, Twistedstalk, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Carrion Flower, Sweet Cicily, Maple Viburnum, Sasparilla, Mountain Laurel, Flame Azalea, Oil nut, Purple Violet, Bluet, Daisy Fleabane, Vasey's Trillium, Yellow Ladyslipper, Wood Betony, Blue-eyed Grass, Perfoliate Bellwort, Wood Anemone, Foamflower, Canada Lily, White Baneberry, Canada Violet, Mayapple, Tassel Rue, Choke Cheery, Indian Cucumber and Yellow Rocket.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird, Black- and-White Warbler, Pine Warbler, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Ruffed Grouse, Common Crow, Turkey Vulture, Brown Thrasher, Veery, Wood Thrush, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Chimney Swift, Tufted Titmouse and Raven. Other fauna- Field Mouse and a large Garter Snake.

scroll down for photos.......

Our hike started at the Wayah Crest Picnic Area off of Wayah Road.
Headed toward Wayah Bald on a beautiful day.
A spectacular group of Yellow Lady Slippers (Cypripedium parviflorum)
The intersection with the Bartram Trail.
From the intersection, the two trails merge for a couple of miles. (White and Yellow markers)
Near the summit of Wayah Bald, the trail becomes asphalt as it leads to the tower.
The old Wayah Bald fire tower built in the 1930's by the C.C.C.
Looking down from the tower, the views are spectacular!
From the tower, you can view mountains in GA, NC, SC and TN!
Lunchtime at Wayah Bald!
Blue sky, clouds and mountains.
Hitting the trail after lunch.
Some of today's wildflowers (top left then clockwise)
Canada Violet, Tassel Rue, Perfoliate Bellwort and Bluet.
As we are near the end of a beautiful hike, we were surprised by a sudden hailstorm with
pea-sized hail. The flash made larger reflections but photo is during the hailstorm.
Joe and Carole sticking together through hail and high water!
The OFHC gang for today's hike at Wayah Bald. (l-r kneeling) Rachael Saporito, Lynne Saporito, Donna Presley, Karen Brown, Pom Sinnock and Vic Robson. (standing l-r) Tony Presley, Joe Raguckas, Carole Raguckas, Jim Driggers, Gretta Driggers, Dave Hinson, Dan Ross, Doug Russell, Phil Brownrigg, Dave Standard, Jeanne O'Connor, June Bellamy, Pam Euliss and John Bellamy.

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