Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Still Off the Rez...

Home is a place to hang out between adventures right?

...when last I left you I was waking from a frigid night of camping in Sunburst campground in the Pisgah National Forest.  

 I was warm as toast in the van. 

The morning was cold but no wind! Yes!! And the birds were singing...after a fast pot of cowboy coffee & breakfast I put on every coat I had, hat, and gloves.  And went out to check them out.  I knew it would warm up but it sure took its own good time!  First off I heard this...

I've never heard a chipping sparrow sing so beautifully! I think he was saying, the wind is gone, the wind is gone, great God Almighty, the wind is gone!  Other birds were singing in the woods too...I phished between teeth chatters....a few came out and took time to pose for me, the robins were back waiting for the frost on the grass to burn off...so they flicked leaves near the forest edge looking for a meal...some perched to wait it out..then another great singer emerged...
the song sparrow

Peeking out from under the shrubs was a dark eyed Junco...

And  I know what a horrid photo this is but the Ruby Crowned Kinglet had his crown out for viewing and look how brilliant it is!!

On the ground white throated and fox sparrows were busy digging for worms...I didnt get any shots of them due to the cold mainly I kept having to put my hands back in my gloves and missed lots of good pics due to that...but I did get this good look at the
                                   Eastern Towhee, love that eye!

Eastern Phoebe gave me the over the shoulder look...

But the star of this show was a bird I know as the Solitary Vireo, but his name got changed to the Blue Headed Vireo! He was so curious about me...in fact he was following me around...

He just kept posing for me! I was quite the curiosity. 

I could' of stayed  here all day, but I wanted to get in a few more stops on this good weather day...but

first I walked across the road to see what was happening at the Laurel Branch, only thing seen was the green hued water...

Then I left Sunburst Campground 

and headed south on hwy 215 back to the parkway, I made a right and headed west and turned south on Hwy 64.  I went to see the French Broad Falls, and Mill Shoals! 

Its on private land so I only got a couple photos and then hi-tailed it but they give permission for the public to view their falls.  I missed out on the 3rd falls (Bird Falls) which was down stream I missed that in the waterfall guide! Im kinda working on my NC waterfalls list..altho I havent finished SC yet.

don't know why I didn't think to make a pano so I could get both falls in same shot...duh....a couple of fly fishermen were busy trying their luck...This property is owned by Healing Waters Ministry...
I turned around here and headed back up to the parkway.  I stopped to view the Devil's Courthouse..Indian Legend has it the Devil lives in a cave under this rock! Who am I to say he doesn't? 

I needed some exercise so I headed up Black Balsam Trail Parking.  There's several hikes to take from that lot.  I peeled off at least 2 layers, the hat and gloves before visiting the stinkiest pit toilet ...

east of the Mississippi (it is a unisex so yes both men and women used it, no one had to show any credentials on their sex at birth, thank goodness!)  I chose the easy trail, I hoped for some birds got skunked on that but saw some lovely scenery! I chose the Ivestor Gap Trail if followed to the terminus 4.5 miles away it brings you around Black Balsam Knob to the Graveyard Fields Loop trail! It would be a fun backpack trip but camping has been suspended due to black bear activity..It's a rim trail which I prefer over a ridge trail or a summit trail! You can barely see the trail in this shot on the hill on the right....see it?  Its actually an old road a very ROCKY road!

Lots of water on the trail also...

...in fall this is a 4 x 4 road, could def bust up  your front end here!!  Found this mystery I tried to research it but came up with Zip! I hope its a spot where someone's ashes were released, and not where someone took their last hike! It wasn't that steep but a fall would def be life threatening, due to the rocky landing. 

Sgt M R N Penland SA

...and altho I don't suspect this to be the cause, I learned recently the 3rd cause of death in our Parks is suicide! Last year in our national Parks alone 93 people died by suicide in the parks, the other causes of death are heart attacks and falls!! I turned around at about 2 miles so my RT hike was an easy 4 mi. on this trail...
Back on the Parkway lots of ice still hanging on...

The Yellow Prong River 

I'll post the rest of this day in next post! I had a great day of birding in the morning and hiking in the afternoon...I'd say this was one heck of a day to be off the reservation!!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. Love the video he sure was singing his heart out little thing. what beautiful country you are seeing and I am loving the ride along. Thanks

    1. Western NC is a wonderful area the habitat is varies with the elevation, so it's always surprising me.

  2. I like sparrows, their song is very strident and easliy picked out when they're in the bushes. I'm pretty useless on birdsong but I can recognise a sparrow. Good shot of the waterfall and house, the house looks interesting. Did you see any Dippers on that stretch of water? When you give locations I look them up on Google Earth just to get the bigger picture of where you're travelling.

    1. I looked for Dippers on each stretch of water and found none! I think the cold spell of this past weekend put many of the birds in hiding! It's so cool to use Google Earth it's like visiting an area yourself.

  3. Brrr! Such sights! And all those birds! I love visiting the waterfalls in Nova Scotia, so can relate to your quest! XO

    1. You have to fill me in on the must sees of your Country!

  4. Oh my gosh this is so beautiful and you saw and (photo[d) so many wonderful birds. I wish I could visit there. Did not know that about suicide in the NPs, I wonder why on earth ....' (Had to smile at your subtle dig at your neighbors to the North (at least at their lawmakers. Jeez.)

    1. Its such a buzz on Facebook with concerts being cancelled and such I just don't see the problem, it
      s hardly worth legislation? When Big oil is trying to ruin our public lands, and our schools and roads are in a mess and they worry about bathrooms? Im old enough to remember using water fountains and bathrooms with the sign "WHITES ONLY" over them soooo legislation like this bs could lead anywhere---


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