Tuesday, August 4, 2015

High Over Highlands

I've just come back from a trip to a rainforest!  The lichen and salamander capital of the world!  Well, it's not as exotic as it sounds, although it was incredibly beautiful.  Todd and I made the 90-minute trek to Highlands, North Carolina, for our anniversary.

The first day we hiked.  First we did the Whiteside Mountain trail (elevation 4900 feet).  Beautiful vistas!

Many exposed granite rocks faces, too.

We saw lots of lichen, which is expected in the world capital...

...but also a wide variety of really beautiful mushrooms/fungus...

The moss was a vibrant green and so velvety.

Ferns everywhere!

Lots of flowers.

The trails were rocky, and sometimes people decorated with the excess ones.

We were surrounded on all sides by rhododendrons, some still in bloom.  Perfect weather - sunny and 75 degrees.

The night day we decided to go canoeing.  We found a pretty lake...

...with lots of narrow passages, perfect for a canoe.

We even had a swan escort!

We were able to canoe by some of the area's famous waterfalls.

We saw a lot of wildlife, both insect...

...and of the four-legged variety.

At another location, one of the lakes we saw had some narrow inlets full of lily pads.  Love!!

I've always thought that water lilies looked like they were lit from within.  I just love them.

Several years ago, I was kayaking at Yellowwood Forest in the Bloomington, Indiana area.  I found a narrow passage though a sea of water lilies and lotus flowers.  They were taller than my head, and the smell was intoxicating.  It was like kayaking through a fairyland!  It's always a real treat for me when I get to see them.

Todd didn't quite make it, though.

Vacationing is hard work!  :)

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