Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring hike on ye ol' familiar War Spur Loop

Daffodils, itty-bitty leaves on trees, forsythia bursting out all over; yep, it's spring in our little part of Southern Appalachia.  And no better way to beat the latent winter blues than a romp on our old familiar trail, War Spur Loop.  We trekked up to Mountain Lake Wilderness on Sunday to hit the trail.

Verdant sward of a trail, awaiting further verdancy
The trailhead is about 3700" elevation, and often cooler than Blacksburg's 2300", so we donned our sweatshirts and fleece, but quickly removed them once we spent a few minutes in the warm, sunny mountaintop. It's still barely spring up there, with just a few things blooming. Here's a chronicle of the hike.

There wasn't a lot of spring color out yet, at least on the ground,and these red berries were easy to spot.

 The last vestiges of wintertime on War Spur, mingling with nascent spring signs, make for some interesting views. Since much of the trail runs on a flat mountain, you can see the ridgelines of the surrounding mountains through the trees.  Here's a set of layers, with the green laurel, the white tree flowers (never did figure out what they are) , and the distant ridgeline forming vertical lines, all framed between the brown leaves and the bright blue sky.

 Baby leaves just starting to come out. Color returns to the mountain! 
  Looking across the valley from the War Spur Overlook really shows how spring is slowly moving from the valley up the hillsides, with the patches of brighter green just starting to emerge in the lower elevations.
Barrie relaxes in the sun
A wake of turkey buzzards was flying around the overlook while we were there.  
Here's one in midflight.