ROAN MOUNTAIN

Nearby Roan Mountain has the largest natural Catawba rhododendron garden in the world.  A couple of weekends ago, I heard on the news that the Rhododendron Festival was ongoing and that the flowers were near their peak.  I’ve been wanting to go see them for years, but always seem to miss when they bloom.  This was my chance. On Wednesday of last week, I loaded Tippy and my mom and dad in the car and we headed off for a day in the mountains.

We stopped at the Roan Mountain visitors center for a break and to get information on exactly where we needed to go to see the flowers.  The lady behind the desk gave us a map and then said words I wasn’t expecting to hear:  “The blooms are almost all gone.”  Really?!  That’s not what they had said on the news.  Later, we overheard some other visitors talking about this.  They said that a heavy storm had come through on Sunday night and knocked a lot of the flowers off.   I guess that explains it.

Tippy, mom, and dad at the welcome center
My mom and dad with Tippy at the Roan Mountain Welcome Center

Of course, since we were there, we drove on up to the top of the mountain to see what was left of the blooms.

Sign at the gardens
Sign at the entrance to the gardens.

The sign tells you that you are standing at an elevation of 6,286 feet (1.9km) and, therefore, will see a forest that typically grows in Canada.  I found that to be interesting.

We walked the short, concrete loop, stopping to admire the flowers and views along the way.  Even though they weren’t at their peak, we still found it to be very pretty and can only imagine what it would have looked like if all of the shrubs were completely covered in blooms.

There were other interesting things along the path, including trees, rotting logs, and patches of fern.

 

I was proud of how well Tippy behaved around the crowds of people and other dogs who were there.

We stopped at the bottom of the mountain for a picnic lunch.  When I got the ham out of the cooler for our ham and cheese sandwiches, I realized I had brought the container that was almost empty.  Dad got ham and cheese.  Mom and I got to have a cheese only sandwich.  LOL

 

After lunch, we explored the area around the mountain stream. It was very pretty and relaxing.  I just love the sound of water flowing over rocks.  After lots of trial and error, I got a decent picture of Tippy.  She still wouldn’t look at me though.

Tippy by the water
This is as good as it is going to get, mom.

Here are a few of the outtakes.  At first, she would walk away as I was snapping the picture.  Once she decided to do a sit/stay, she refused to look at the camera.

On the way home, we spotted this sign along the road.  We just had to turn around to investigate.

drive in church
Humm? Peaked our curiosity.

It wasn’t all all what we were expecting.  Just a two layered parking lot facing this small building with a sign that said to tune your radio to an FM station.  We do wonder if someone sits or stands here and preaches or if they are listening to the sermon that is being given in the traditional church, which sits just to the left of this picture.

drive in church 2
Drive-in church.

We all enjoyed our day in the mountains.  It wore Tippy out, as is evidenced by the fact that she was lagging way behind when we took our normal walk later in the evening.

a tired Tippy lagging behind
Wait on me. I’m a little slow when I’m tired.