Residents of the Heritage Ridge Villas enjoy hiking on the Jump Off trail at the top of the mountain. This trail follows a ridge line, and has a long gentle trail, with a lookout point. For those who want a bit of a steeper hike, it's a short climb up to an even higher lookout. This trail goes through an old growth forest, with these giant trees. Residents of the villas have access to the many miles of hiking trails within Mountain Air. The trails are well maintained and well marked. What a beautiful way to spend part of a day.
Two of our Heritage Ridge Villas residents have enjoyed wonderful hikes at nearby Rocky Fork State Park in Tennessee. It is about a 30 minute drive from our villas, mostly on 4 lane highway. Louise contributed the videos below.
Rocky Fork Park
We walked along a gentle path, with the above river gently flowing along the path. A beautiful, peaceful and easy walk, with many places to pause and sit along the river. A great place to bring a picnic.
There also are many harder trails and waterfalls in the park.
The park literature says: "The park is predominately Appalachian cove forest, one of the most biologically diverse habitats in North America. The well drained, loamy soil supports the growth of a variety of hardwoods and evergreens. Oak, hickory, beech, pine, hemlock, and rhododendron are just a few of the species found here. The diversity of tree species has historically made the area a desirable timber ground. The park and the surrounding Cherokee National Forest offers miles of old, unmarked logging roads.
Native wildflowers find ideal growing conditions and include Pink Lady’s Slipper and Yellow Fringed Orchid and Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid, and several native lilies, including Turk’s Cap and Michaux’s Lily. Diverse and varied fungi thrive in Rocky Fork’s cool, damp climate.
. . . The park contains a noted cultural site at the junction of Flint Creek and Rocky Fork. This location was the winter encampment of Creek and Cherokee Indians in the late 1700s when Colonel (later Governor) John Sevier and his troops surrounded the encampment and mounted a surprise attack in response to long standing tension between the two groups. The Creek and Cherokee sustained heavy fatalities and casualties during the conflict."
The weather has been gorgeous here at Mountain Air. The past several days have been comfortably warm and sunny. Some of us have been hiking on the glorious trails here. Below is a view from the first look out on Jump Off Trail. Simply drive over to Timber Sky. Download the hiking trail map on this website, or get one from the Outdoor Discovery Center. There is a trail head over in Timber Sky, that takes you to a gentle trail along the top ridge of Mountain Air. You arrive at a lovely lookout, where this picture was taken. Then, you can continue on up a steeper trail, to an even higher lookout if you wish. The first part of the jump-off trail is gentle and easy, even for beginners.
© Louise Lindsay 2017, prints, etc. available at www.louiselindsay.com by request
Fall color is beautiful right now. Of course, in the mountains of western North Carolina, there is no real peak. It is so bio-diverse here that fall color goes on and on for weeks, painted every day with different colors. But this moment is beautiful and will be for the next few weeks. Right now, there is still much green in the landscape, but also the fall colors that create a beautiful patchwork quilt are popping out everywhere. Cloud inversions are kissing the mountain most mornings. Fall wildflowers are blooming- purple asters and bottle gentian are especially plentiful. More detailed fall color reports can be found here and here. A taste of the mountain around the Heritage Ridge Villas follows. Louise
Images © 2016 Louise Lindsay
Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful guided nature walk with Kat (Mountain Air, 's resident naturalist) who showed us many things about mushrooms, blueberries, and trees, and took a group of maybe 12 or more Mountain Air residents to a lookout where we could see from Camps at Creekside up to the Club Villas and all around. It was a free Sunday 10 AM guided nature hike. We recommend these frequent guided nature walks to all. She gave us the notes below. And the 4" video gives you a glimpse of Kat's teachings.
A great afternoon hike to the Jump Off trail lookout. About 3/4 mile from the trail-head at Timber Sky, you reach this lovely lookout, at 4,750 ft. The view is toward Mt Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, and the Black Mountains. Today was a lovely sunny, cool day for a hike.
Heritage Ridge Villas residents and guests
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