Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer Blooms - Flowers of Mt. Mitchell

Bloom where you are planted....

Wildflowers bloom on top of the highest mountain in the Eastern United States on these pictures taken on the first day of fall.

Mount Mitchell, in western North Carolina, is that mountain, and we were fortunate for the opportunity to see it.

It was a beautiful drive from Asheville, NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  At the same time, many bicyclists were riding - one said it was about a 3 hour ride (each way) from Asheville.  What a level of physical fitness those bicycle riders have achieved!

This is one of the many views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the observation decks on the mountain.  These mountains live up to their name.  Even on the first day of fall, they look blue from a distance.

More wildflowers, from a little further down the summit.  It was interesting seeing how the vegetation changed as the altitude changed.  These asters disappeared as we got closer to the top.

Although I didn't photograph them, several Appalachian balds were visible from Mount Mitchell.  These are mountain tops devoid of trees, in a climate zone where trees should be growing at that attitude - but they aren't.  Scientists aren't 100% sure of why this happens, as some mountains will have balds and other mountains, next door and possibly even taller, won't.

We also saw stands of dead trees.  At the visitors center, we found out that these stands of trees were killed by acid rain.  Although this looks like some strange wildflower, this is actually a branch of one of these dead trees.

And so ends another summer of blooms.

Now that fall has taken over from summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, what would you like to see instead of Summer Blooms, as we approach the end of our blooming season?

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