On Thursday, I led a hike to Bald Knob for the Elderhostel being held that week at Mountain Lake Hotel.
On the way up to the look out, I pointed out a dark-eyed junco nest which was just on the side of the road (but flagged by researchers). Juncos have left my yard (2000 ft. elevation) in April to nest up north but are resident year round at Mountain Lake because it is 4000 feet in elevation.
The trail really was a road so the flowers were mostly typical of field or road sides such as this milkweed with a black swallowtail butterfly. My milkweed at home had already finished blooming.
The theme of the elderhostel was on stories so I talked about the uses of coltsfoot, plant, and witch hazel tree which were growing along the road.
This Rosebay Rhododendrun blooms later than the more common Catawba Rhododendrun.
About 24 hiked the one-mile but steep trail/road up to the lookout.
The look out is 4363 feet in elevation.
These two men looked precarious on the cantilevered rock.
At the hotel, I noticed a tree swallow had built a nest on the porch outside the gift shop.
When I got too close, she got out of her nest. I left soon after so she could get back to her nest.
On the drive back, I took this panoramic view at a pull out on Mountain Lake Road (Rt. 700), looking toward where I live.
I also saw my first Monarch Butterfly there---what a good day it was.
Note about Mountain Lake Conservancy: There are many trails on the 2600 acres that the Conservancy manages. The area borders on the Appalachian Trail. You don't have to be a hotel guest. There is a $3 parking charge for the day. They also have "Dirty Dancing" weekends regularly for hotel guests--see Mountain Lake Hotel website.