When we first moved here 11 years ago, we joined the Carolina Mountain Club (CMC). We were new to hiking in mountains and wilderness areas and wanted to know the best places to go and how to do it safely. CMC has been around for over 90 years. Members helped build and now help maintain both the Appalachian Trail and the Mountains-To-Sea Trail. Club members currently lead about 5 hikes per week that are rated by both length and difficulty (elevation change) so there is something for different fitness levels. By participating in the club, I have learned where to go for the best views, when the wildflowers are in bloom in a given area, and where the best trails are by season. I became a hike leader to share my knowledge and appreciation. It is difficult to take photos during a hike because hikers enjoy going fast and I honor that. Why would they want to wait for a slow hiker and photographer?
I got my first DSLR seven years ago. My husband got tired of being asked to take a specific photo for me so I could reference it for a painting and I was tired of waiting for him to take photos. The logical solution was for him to buy me a camera so I would become as enamoured as he is and spend lots of time in the middle of nowhere standing by a tripod and camera. Strangely enough it worked.
So, back to the CMC. In order to lead a hike I have to scout it before the club hike to be sure that it is in good condition. I decided to pick hikes that would coincide with photography opportunities like when the wildflowers along that trail would most likely be in bloom. My scout of the hike that these photos were taken on is close to our house.
Since the mountains and forests at higher elevations are still mostly barren in February, I almost didn’t take my camera. I started the scouting hike in mid afternoon and by the time I got to the turn around place the sun was beginning to set, lighting up the skeletal trees and weeds. Something magical happened when the sunlight warmed the scene, so as you can see from these photos, I was happy that I had my camera!