North Carolina county #86 Carver's Gap - Pisgah National Forest
My next stop was supposed to be Rhodendran Gardens in Pisgah National Forest, but for some reason the road was closed right at a spot called Carver’s Gap. By this time I was well into the mountains and Carver’s Gap is at 5,512 feet elevation. I hiked a trail that went up one of the mountains next to the gap.
The Tennessee border was very close but I was pretty sure I was staying on the North Carolina side, to ensure I got Mitchell County completed. As it turned out though, the trail did spend some time on the Tennessee side, and the woods next to the parking lot where I spent twenty minutes was also on the Tennessee side. So unfortunately my best bird did not count for Mitchell County – a Blue-headed Vireo.
I did get to see a group of Pine Siskins, which were my first of the year. I was glad to get them as there were not many birds around. I also saw some Dark-eyed Juncos and a Common Raven calling as it flew down the mountain.
It seemed that many trees lost their leaves quickly this year, and the color did not stay around very long. I wasn’t originally planning to walk all the way to the top of the trail, but I ended up doing so because it was a nice day out and it was fun to be out there. When I was near the top, I tried taking one of those panorama photos with my phone.
I think that is Roan Mountain across the gap. In any case, this is a really nice place to stop and do a short hike. I stayed for about two and a half hours and walked about two miles. However, it was not the best birding. It could have just been an unlucky day though.