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Come and enjoy the beauty of the North Carolina mountains. Explore and photograph waterfalls,
mountain flowers and beautiful landscapes with fellow CNPA members on guided field trips.
Event limited to 100 participants.

Friday, June 11th Outing Descriptions
    Limit: 15
    Depart Hotel: 8:00 AM
    Duration: Half Day or All Day

    About 30 miles southwest of Asheville the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the Shining Rock Wilderness Area. This region of superlative mountain heights features a multitude of wonderful waterfalls, many of them roadside views. We will be visiting and photographing several waterfalls in the area.

    There will be a half-day option and an all-day option. Total hiking for the half-day option will be about 2 miles total and 4 miles total for the all-day option.

    Included waterfalls will be Skinny Dip Falls, Second Falls (Yellowstone Prong), Bubbling Spring Falls, West Fork Falls (Pigeon River), and Wildcat Falls (all-day option). Though the trails are classified easy, please be aware that the areas around waterfalls are tricky and potentially hazardous by their very nature with drops and climbs, jagged rocks, strong currents and slippery terrain. Those choosing the all-day option should bring a lunch. Those choosing the half-day option are welcome to bring a lunch or cut out on their own (The nearest dining is the Pisgah Inn at Parkway milepost 408.6. The half-day option to be over by 1:00. The all-day option will probably last to 5:30.

    Limit: 25
    Depart Hotel: 5:30 AM SHARP
    Duration: All Day - about 1 ½ hours to Carver’s Gap on NC/TN border

    Hiking Info: 3 miles round trip via Appalachian Trail to Jane Bald and back, moderate to strenuous in places - a lot of uphill and downhill walking

    The magnificent display of purple Catawba rhododendron and orange flame azaleas along the balds of the Roan Mountain massif is one of the area’s major events each year. The panoramic vistas along this part of the Appalachian Trail are jaw-dropping at any time but the additional mass of floral color intensifies the experience. Due to last season’s rainfall we may also see lush green fields carpeted with yellow wildflowers. We could have beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds or we could be fogged in - perhaps both on the same day! No matter what the conditions are, you will be rewarded with memorable landscapes. This will be a slow hike so you may catch your breath and capture any images you want along the way.

    Limit: 20
    Depart Hotel: 6:00 AM
    Duration: All Day
    Note: Must carpool at least 2 to each car.

    The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and the Smokies has some of the best mountain vistas and wildflowers along the whole of the parkway. Incredible photographic opportunities can be found in all seasons. The focus of the morning part of the field trip will be the section between Mt. Pisgah and Looking Glass Rock Overlook. Wide angle landscapes, long telephotos scenics and even macro shoots are available along this section depending on conditions.

    The group will then work our way down the Davidson River Road (Highway 276) for lunch in Brevard, NC, photographing Looking Glass Falls and the many fern forests along the way. After lunch the group will travel the parkway south past Graveyard Fields working our way to Heintooga Spur Road where some of the best wildflower opportunities can be found at this time of year. Cowee Mountain Overlook and Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook will also be a necessary stops along the way. This is an easy field trip with car access at every stop.

    Limit: 20
    Depart Hotel: 8:00 AM
    Duration: All Day
    Note: Must carpool at least 2 to each car.

    From Asheville, we’ll drive the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) north to Mount Mitchell. At 6684’, Mt. Mitchell is the highest point east of the Black Hills in SD. We’ll stop at several overlooks for views and wildflowers. Watch for wildflowers, Mountain Laurel, and Flame Azalea along the way that you might want to visit on your own on your return trip. We’ll stop at the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (Restrooms), and take a short 0.3 mile (one way) walk on the Mountains-To-Sea trail to a meadow with stunning Catawba (Pink) Rhododendrons. I’ll point out a somewhat more challenging hike to Craggy Pinnacle for your return. We’ll stop at the overlook for Glassmine Falls (no walking necessary), and point out hiking opportunities on the way to Mt. Mitchell SP. At the parking lot, there’s a small museum and snack bar. The top, with it’s 360 degree view, is reached by a short, but steep, wide, paved walkway. The outing ends here. From the top there’s a 0.7 mile loop trail back to the parking lot through the endangered Spruce/Fir high-altitude forest. At your discretion, you might enjoy the restaurant, continue north on the BRP, or take a hike, before returning to Asheville via the BRP.

    Limit: 20
    Depart Hotel: 8:30 a.m. (or 9:00 a.m. at the Biltmore Reception and Ticket Center)
    Duration: All day or ½ day
    Fee: $40 with voucher

    Local driving only Some walking, no “hiking”; not strenuous

    We’ll be visiting the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The trip will begin at the Conservatory which is full of exotic plants. Immediately next to the Conservatory are the lovely outdoor gardens, with seasonal plants and flowers, and a scenic walking path to the Bass Pond. Participants can spend as much or as little time as they’d like at these photogenic locations. The Conservatory is within reasonably easy walking distance to the Biltmore House.

    A tour of the house takes several hours and we’ll have to reserve times to visit ahead of actually showing up. Cameras are not allowed inside the house. There are limited places for lunch on the estate (and they are fairly expensive), so it might be advisable to either leave the estate to get lunch or bring a box lunch with us. In any event, participants are welcome to stay on the estate all day or to leave whenever they feel like it. In addition to the scenic areas and the house, the other notable stop would be the winery and farm area.

    Limit: 20
    Depart Hotel: 4:00 AM
    Travel Time: Approx. 1.5 hours
    Duration: All day
    Agenda: Shoot the Elk at 6:00 AM, Sunset At: 8:45PM

    Bring your own lunch and water. No hiking required. The last road segment to Cataloochee is paved to dirt, narrow, washboarding, uphill, winding with lots of curves, slow going. Subjects include Elk, vistas, historic buildings, and some wildflowers.

    The elk begin grazing in the early morning low light and then retreat to the shade among the trees so remember bring your long lens. They like to graze again in late afternoon/early evening. There is an old grave yard and plenty of historical buildings to shoot while waiting for the elk to reappear.

    Carpooling is a good idea. Once you see the elk, you can park anywhere along the road. However, the pull-off/overlook from which we will shoot the sunset, is a popular place for park visitors to photograph the sunsets so here, we will all compete for this limited parking area.

    NOTE: Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet) or ANY distance which disturbs the elk or bear is prohibited. However, if you approach an animal so closely that it stops feeding, changes direction, or otherwise alters its behavior, YOU ARE TOO CLOSE and you can be fined.

Saturday, June 12th Outing Descriptions