This picture was taken in early May at a magical place called Graveyard Fields off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina.
Graveyard Fields is a high mountain valley where the Yellowstone Prong of the Pigeon River originates. A natural explanation for this valley’s interesting name comes from a time when a windstorm blew down hundreds of spruce and fir trees that orginally grew here. The upturned roots resembled gravestones in a graveyard. But there is a man-made explanation as well. During the early 1900’s, when the mountains were being logged, all that remained in this valley were teh stumps of cut trees. Another story of the valley’s name tells of how mosses eventually grew all over the stumps resembling an overgrown graveyard. However, later during the logging area, catastrophic fires swept through the area, destroying anything resembling a graveyard and heating the soil enough to sterilize it! The once dense spruce-fir forest changed from that point forward.
The Yellowstone Prong gathers in the high surrounding mountains, tumbles over Upper Falls into the western end of the valley, and spills out the eastern and over the Second Falls. Between Upper and Second Falls the river is slow and lazy, with meanders, gravel bars, threaded channels, and crystal clear still pools supporting native Brook trout. Rare mountain bogs lie along springs and seep in the valley. Although the trees and shrubs are beginning to grow back in places, periodic smaller fires have swept the area, helping keep the alpine meadow-like appearance in places. (Info from www.hikewnc.info).
Whatever the reasons for the appearance of Graveyard Fields, it is a beautiful place to visit and hike. Homer and I have hiked the trails many times and find new treasures each time.
I added one of my own textures using PhotoShop and shot the pic with a Panasonic Lumix campact camera.
– JUNE 12, 2010!
– March, 2011!
FEATURED IN RED BUBBLE’S EXPLORE SECTION – MAY, 2012!