Spring is really here!
Our group of four (from left to right – me, Tish, Sawako and Lenny) continued hiking the Carolina Mountain Club section of the Appalachian Trail by walking from Brown Gap to Lemon Gap. Where two weeks ago, the weather was cold, icy and snowy, today was beautiful, sunny and dry.
The hike was easy – 8.9 miles and 1,700 feet of altitude gain. What was difficult was placing the cars. First we met Tish at Max Patch. We drove two cars to Lemon Gap. Then backtracking quite a bit to go to Brown Gap where we left the other car. The hike was easy but the shuttle was horrendous. Finally we started walking.
The trail was the typical green tunnel, between two sets of trees, except that the trees had not leafed out yet. So it was really a brown tunnel. The picture here is of Sawako being dwarfed by a large blowdown.
But then we reached Max Patch and the world opened up. See the top photo.
The top of Max Patch is a favorite destination for non hikers. In a quarter-mile, you can get to the top and be in outdoor heaven. The views are outstanding.
Then the trail went down, down, down. First to Roaring Creek shelter, one of the newest shelters on the CMC section. Then down the rest of the way. And this is where spring flowers really came out.
Hepatica and spring beauties, lots of spring beauties. If those were all the flowers that we were going to see, it would have been enough. But blood root (shown just above) blossomed and even a few trout lilies. There was the promise of trilliums in the next couple of weeks.
I hope you’re getting out because this is the best time for spring wildflowers.