Roan Mountain, TN, and the grassy balds for several miles to the north contain the biggest collection of native growing wildflowers of which I am aware in the Appalachian Mountains.  Each year in mid June is the peak season of the blossoms of rhododendron, flame azalea, mountain laurel, bluets and other flowers. The Roan Mountain State Park on the west side of the mountain hosts the annual Rhodendron Festival at this time, on the weekend calculated to be closest to the peak. When I have attended the festival I was put off by the jammed crowds and absence of parking. …
On the last day of May, 2020, I took a hike on Grandfather Mountain.  The route was on the Profile Trail from NC Hwy 105 most of the way to Calloway Gap at the top of the mountain. This trip was my first real mountain hike in several years. Due to several illnesses, injuries and medical procedures – including two hip surgeries – plus getting older and fatter, I had lost most of my conditioning.  Recently I would get out of breath walking up a set of stairs in a building.  Thanks to many tennis matches and some town park…
I have been physically attacked in my law office by a hot headed young man who I defeated in Court and embarrassed the day before. At other times, I have been chased and bitten by big, mean dogs while mountain biking. Once while backpacking in the Slickrock Creek Wilderness of the Nantahala National Forest I was harassed by a wild boar that walked through my camp. Another time on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smokey Mountain Park I was followed by a black bear. When backpacking on Grandfather Mountain I had a black bear come into my camp and…
Years ago the DeLorme company of Maine invented a GPS device the size of two flip phones which held electronic copies of maps and could show you on the map screen where you were located.  When combined with a computer the device could desgn routes and way points to plan and follow on wilderness trips.  A few years later DeLorme invented a separate device that could send an SOS message to rescuers by satellite [without depending on cell phone signal] and crudely communicate with them by a tedious text messaging sytstem.    I  had those two devices for years but…
Like most things in life, what boots to wear in the woods and fields is a trade off.  More thickness and stiffness make for more foot protection and warmth in the winter, but also make for tireder legs and more sweat in the summer.  Depending on the roughness or flatness of the terrain, a heavier boot may make your feet feel more or less comfortable.   Heavier boots are better for punching toe steps and digging into steep or slick terrain, like snow or mud.  When I was in my 20's and 30's years of age, I wore heavy boots exclusively. …