Pinkshell Azaleas (Azalea vaseyi) are native to only a couple of counties in North Carolina. One place to see them is on Pilot Mountain in Pisgah National Forest. The azalea bushes are globally rare but when you climb up to Pilot Mountain in early May, they’re not rare at all but very abundant.
Carolina Mountain Club led a hike on the Art Loeb Trail to Pilot Mountain today. Besides the pinkshells, we saw 35 species of wildflowers – yes, someone counted them. Included in this count were flaming azaleas (orange) and everything from violets to rue anemones. This is the time to get out there and see flowers before the weather gets too hot.
It was an easy hike with a gentle pace, a good time to try out using two hiking poles. I’ve been using one hiking pole for a long, long time.
But lately, I’ve been having serious pain in my right hand, sometimes shooting to my elbow – the result of pounding my stick into the ground too aggressively. I hoped that using two sticks would distribute the pounding.
I’m not very coordinated so I was concerned about tripping over myself but I didn’t. I’m curious to see what will happen on a more challenging hike.