Late May in the North Carolina mountains is a special time to see early flowering trees and plants.  Dave and I managed one nice hike on Black Rock Mountain in Panthertown before the deluge of rain hit, a result of Tropical Storm Alberto.

Thanks to lots of rainfall this spring, the mountains are lush.

Enjoy our hike.

Black Rock Trail in Panthertown Valley photo by Kathy Miller

A sea of ferns.

A sea of ferns on Black Rock Mountain in Panthertown photo by Kathy Miller

Look closely to see a hemlock tree looking healthy with new growth.  The mountains have been devastated with the loss of many eastern hemlocks due to the wooly adelgid.  Huge numbers of hemlocks have died.  Could this tree be a good sign?

A hemlock lookin helathy with new growth photo by Kathy Miller

This bright orange eft, a juvenile newt is so colorful against the trail.   All newts are salamanders, but not all salamanders are newts, accoring to wikipedia.  We saw 4 on our hike.

Red eft, juvenile newt, a salamander photo by Kathy Miller

“The neon orange red eft boldly crawls about in broad daylight because it has toxins in its skin that makes it foul tasting.”, according to the Western North Carolina Nature Center.  Interesting fact.  I wondered why Sheldon, our mini whoodle, totally ignored this bright salamander, even though his strong terrier instinct  goes into overdrive at our Florida home, chasing every green anole and lizard he meets.

orange eft, baby newt size propective with boots photo by Kathy Miller

View from Blackrock Mountain looking over Panthertown Valley with Chimney Top Mountain, Rock Mountain and Whiteside Mountain in the distance, all favorite mountains.

View of Chimney Top Mountain, Rock Mountain and Whiteside Mountain from Blackrock Mountain in Panthertown photo by Kathy Miller

Love the patterns of the gravel and granite trail.

Gravel and granite rock trail in Panthertown photo by Kathy Miller

Think the shapes and patterns could inspire an abstract painting.

Panthertown Trail might make an nice abstract painting photo by Kathy Miller

Favorite May flora seen on the hike.

Mountain Laurel ready to burst into bloom.

Mountain Laurel ready to burst into bloom photo by Kathy Miller

Flame azaleas

Flame azalea in Panthertown photo by Kathy Miller

Bristly Locust Tree blossom

Bristly Locust Tree blossom photo by Kathy Miller

Pine tree new foliage

Pine tree flowering photo by Kathy Miller

Pine tree coloring photo by Kathy Miller

Rain clouds are gathering

Pine Tree at Salt Rock Gap with view of Cold Mountain in Panthertown photo by Kathy Miller

We were thrilled to see a few pink lady slippers on the trail.

Pink Lady Slipper photo by Kathy Miller

It was so nice to get this one hike in before the rains came.  Tropical storm, Alberto seemed to stall right over our mountains.  This catawba rhododendron was in full bloom when we arrived…the rain…

Catawba Phododendron photo by Kathy Miller

The view from our house of Laurel Knob during a rain delay…The white streaks are waterfalls streaming over the granite rock face…not an everyday occurrance.

Laurel Knob waterfalls streaming over the rock face photo by Kathy Miller

Going a little stir crazy as are the bears and deer.  We had a bear visit us.  Walked right up the outside stair, not 20 feet from me.  (I was outside) Yikes! Scared the bejesus out of me. I dropped (threw) my sketching pencils and screamed.  Don’t know who was more scared.  He ran off into the woods.

Looked just like this one…Our painting…Miller Bear by friend, Karen Weihs, Colorist Of The Carolinas.

Miller Bear by Karen Weihs photo by Kathy Miller

Into The Woods…


Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat on the trail.
















  • Janet Kolar says:

    I enjoyed so much my educational trip to the North Carolina mountains.
    The photographs were outstanding seeing all the new growth and lush
    Greenery after the rain. You are an artist with the camera and words as

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Know how much the natural world means to you. We find such inspiration in nature! Hope Vermont hemlocks are showing some new growth too

  • Dave Miller says:

    This hike in Panthertown was one of my most memorable in terms of beauty. The amount of new growth on several hemlocks was encouraging, we miss these trees.

    • KathyMillerTime says:

      Hope we see many more hemlocks with new growth. Hope to hike with you today! The sun is out ☀️ 🌞

  • Joanne Astor says:

    Such wonderful pictures Kathy. Glad you got your hike in to see all the spring plants and flowers. It is inspiring!

  • Vern says:

    Love the pictures of the beautiful scenery but not happy about the Bear on the property!

  • Laura Huffman says:

    I love these photos, especially the one looking over the mountains to Rock, Chimney Top, and Whiteside in the distance. Great shot! Hope the rain stops and lets you get in more hikes. Wish we were there with you!

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Getting ready to hike to Granny Burrells! The sun is out! Wish you were here too. Looking forward to July! and a visit with The Huffmans!🧗‍♀️🧗‍♂️🧗‍♀️

  • Jo-Ann Leimberg says:

    So glad I took the time to enjoy your spring in the mountain photos. Like a breath of fresh, if damp, air! The photos of the “salamander” took me back to my childhood visits to the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania.
    So did the bear! We had our share of brown bear visit the properties. One even made off with a defrosting steak! That was the last time my aunt defrosted anything out of doors.
    Such a lovely place. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      So happy you have some fun memories of the mountains! I know the Pocono mountains are beautiful! And your bear story about the defrosting steak is so funny. Can’t leave anything out or the bears will be there! We finally took another hike and Sheldon, our dog, took off towards the trailhead. I called him back, put him on the leash and then stopped to read a new sign. We proceeded down our trail and right in front of us was another bear. I am beginning to think I am a bear magnet. We ‘Hollered” and he ran off into the woods! Yikes!
      Thank you for sharing your memories with me!

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