The Linn Cove Viaduct

The last link in the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in 1987 at a cost of $10 million and wraps around the slope of Grandfather Mountain in western North Carolina. The mountain is the highest and most rugged peak in the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Recognized as an engineering marvel, the…

Flame Azalea: A Favorite Native Shrub

Actually a species of rhododendron (Rhododendron calendulaceum), the flame azalea is native to the Appalachian Mountains and is found as far north as the state of New York and as far south as northern Georgia.  It is a deciduous shrub, and the flowers range from yellow to orange to red.  The flame azaleas that grow…

The Phantom of Appalachia in My Backyard

The eastern cougar is extinct, or more correctly, extirpated (totally wiped out), so the federal and state wildlife officials say,  but sightings of the big cats are frequent here in the Southern Appalachians.  It won’t do any good to contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources if a cougar is sighted; they just laugh at…

Now on display in my corner of North Georgia: Sourwood

The sourwood tree, also known as the sorrel tree, is native to eastern North America and primarily is found in the lower Appalachian region.  It can grow as a small tree or large shrub from 10 to 20 meters (30-65 feet) tall.  In the spring it produces bell-shaped flowers on long panicles, and in the…