Friday, October 5, 2012

Monarchs in the Mountains

Earlier this week my husband and I took a "field trip" to Transylvania County, NC to visit the Cradle of Forestry, which is an amazing place that is known as the birthplace of forest conservation in America.  It is located on 6,500 acres in the Pisgah National Forest and is home to a great exhibit on what happens in the forest as well as many hiking and walking trails and picnic areas.  We had a really fun time wondering on the trails and seeing the historic buildings, logging train and learning about conserving and maintaining the forests of the United States.

From there we took a short drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a road that we enjoy immensely! We didn't have time to drive very far, but wanted to take a few pictures overlooking the Pisgah National Forest that we had just hiked in.  It didn't take long at all to reach the perfect spot; the Pounding Mill Overlook was exactly what we had hoped for.

Milepost 413 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Take a look at this amazing view!  If you click on the picture below to enlarge it, you will see a gorgeous monarch butterfly floating by just to the right of center!

View from the Pounding Mill Overlook
It turns out that single butterfly was not just a single butterfly, there were hundreds not only floating past, but perched in bushes and flowers all along the overlook.  It was a spectacular sight!  Other sightseers were snapping pictures as fast as we were and oohing and ahhing over the beauty of it.

Monarch butterflies are unable to survive the cold weather of northern winters, so they migrate to warmer temperatures.  According to experts, if a monarch lives in the eastern United States, they head south to sunny Mexico in early October to hibernate. 

I'm so glad that we took that short detour instead of heading straight home!  It was truly a blessing to see these amazing creatures up close and in such a large quantity.  Thank you letting me share my Monarch in the Mountains adventure with you!

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