Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bartram Trail- Nantahala Lake to Wine Spring Bald

 From the Nantahala Lake Trailhead (3013 feet), the Bartram Trail climbs steeply through lush forest before joining an old road, passing several meadows with abundant wildflowers, and finally intersecting the Appalachian Trail near Wine Spring Bald (5440 feet).  Solitude was again plentiful on the Bartram-- no other hikers were seen during my out-and-back hike.
After climbing over 2000 feet, I was rewarded with spectacular views of fog.
Rain predominated, but for one magical moment the sun crept out and clouds shifted to light up the flowers.

For directions and maps, go to the NC Bartram Trail Associations website.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bartram Trail-- Buckeye Creek to "The Bus"

From Buckeye Creek trailhead out and back to "the Bus" turned out to be a nice relaxing dayhike.  It was perfect for a weekend when I was still sick and needing to take it easy.  The ~1200 foot climb was so gradual that I didn't even notice.  There were also rocky outcrops with views at the top, plenty of flowers along the way, and the soothing sound of springs and creeks at lower elevations near the trailhead.  Once again the Bartram Trail offered plenty of peace and quiet-- there were no other hikers seen the whole day.
Overcast sky's but the thunderstorms thankfully held off
Once again, my gaitors protected my legs from briers on the exposed, overgrown parts of the trail.

Made it to"The Bus"
This section of passed through several distinct forest communities, including the special Cedar Woodland plant community on Cedar Cliff, with Eastern Red Cedar and several rare and sensitive plants.  Botanical highlights included Carolina lilies, yellow fringed orchids, and large patches of fragrant mountain mint.  Rosepink (Sabatia sp.) were especially enchanting, and you can read out their cool ability to avoid self-fertilization here.
Rosepink with exposed, curly style

For more infomation and directions to the trailhead: