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Old 06-15-2007, 11:42 AM
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 5,619,348 times
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is coming up soon (June 23-24) at Roan Mountain State Park in NE Tennessee. More info here:
Roan Mountain, Tennessee - Rhododendron Festival

For those who've never visited Roan Mtn. (elev. 6283 feet), it's probably my favorite spot in the entire Southeastern US. I've hiked the Appalachian Trail across the balds there many times and never tired of the astounding views. The rhododendron and flame azalea displays this time of year are mesmerizingly beautiful.

More and more people are building vacation homes near Roan Mtn., as land there is significantly cheaper than across the state line in NC (Roan straddles TN & NC). Attached are some photos I took when I visited Roan in late May '04 and early June '06.
Attached Thumbnails
Rhododendron Festival @ Roan Mtn...-105_0546.jpg   Rhododendron Festival @ Roan Mtn...-105_0549.jpg   Rhododendron Festival @ Roan Mtn...-roanmtn0004.jpg   Rhododendron Festival @ Roan Mtn...-roanmtn0009.jpg   Rhododendron Festival @ Roan Mtn...-roanmtn0012.jpg  

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Old 06-15-2007, 11:58 AM
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Gorgeous!!! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-07-2007, 12:32 PM
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Those pictures are beautiful! Are you familiar with the town of Roan Mountain?
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:48 PM
Location: Hometown of Jason Witten
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Kamoshika, thank you for the beautiful pictures. I too have hiked the balds. I think spring and fall are the best seasons to do this. Argibay, the town has around 1,200 residents and is 4,000 feet lower than Roan High Knob. Between the two is Roan Mtn. State Park, one of the state's most popular.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:38 AM
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Thanks Ridgerunner :-)
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Old 08-08-2007, 08:41 AM
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 5,619,348 times
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Argibay, I've driven through the town of Roan Mountain many times. As Ridgerunner said, it's very small (not even one traffic light) but as is typical w/ remote communities, it's a pretty tight-knit place. The high school (6 grades) has about 370 students and a strong football team (in recent years) that the locals take great pride in. The nearby state park is very nice & the cabins are popular weekend getaways for Tri-Citians.
TN State Parks: Roan Mountain State Park

The park also offers 12 miles of cross-country skiing trails & is one of the few places in the Southeast that gets reliably decent snowfall (80-100"+ annually). More pics of Roan Mountain can be seen here:
SummitPost - Roan Highlands Images - Hiking & Climbing

And here:
Friends of Roan Mountain (http://www.etsu.edu/biology/roan-mtn/ - broken link)

More info on the mountain:
Sherpa Guides | North Carolina | Mountains | Roan Mountain and Roan Mountain State Park

Because the town of RM is 1000-1300 feet higher than the Tri-Cities on average, temps there tend to be 5-7 degrees cooler. It's about a 30-min. drive to Johnson City from the town of RM, and about 25-30 min. to the top of the mountain.

On the morning of Sept. 28, 1898, while staying at the Cloudland Hotel high atop Roan Mtn.'s summit, famed naturalist, conservation & Sierra Club founder John Muir penned this letter to his wife:

Dear Louie,

We drove here from Cranberry yesterday, a distance of about 18 miles through the most beautiful deciduous forest I ever saw. All the landscapes in every direction are made up of mountains, a billowing sea of them without bounds as far as one can look, and every mountain hill & ridge & hollow is densely forested with so many kinds of trees their mere names would fill this sheet. & now they are beginning to put on their purple & gold. Liriodendron. Nyssa. Sassafras. Oxydendron. Mountain ash. Tilia birch beech hickory ash Magnolia 3 species. Chestnut etc. & maples. I wish I could hand you a bouquet of these leaves their beauty is perfectly enchanting.

After lunch yesterday we walked 5 miles along the mountain top to where the storms of winter prevent trees from growing here.

The open broad ridge top for miles is covered with rhododendron about 5 ft. high which in flower must make a glorious show. Around the base of the rhododendron clumps there is a rich bossy growth of Leiophyllum buxifolia a charming heathwort. The temp is distinctly alpine & for the first time since leaving home feel like my old self. I have been quite miserable but this air has healed me...

Wanda Helen love to all–

From your loving husband

John Muir
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:14 AM
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Wow, Kamoshika...great pictures! It is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for all of the information...what an inspiring letter. How was your trip to the festival this year?
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:09 AM
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 5,619,348 times
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Glad to share the pics, both mine and others'.

Didn't make the festival this year. I've only attended once and will probably not go again (at least not to the Rhododendron gardens), as I'm not too keen on huge crowds & congestion (some 200,000 attend the festival annually.) I prefer to visit just before or just after the festival, when the blooms are still spectacular but you're not elbow-to-elbow w/ the masses.
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