So, to continue a month or rather summer of anniversaries, we recently returned to Wayah Bald. As we were easily walking up the pathway that was home to bunnies and wild flowers, I remembered that this was the first place I walked/hiked after chemo. We were here on June 18, 2018!

I also remembered how I kept wondering if I would get tired, have to go back to the car, or just feel plain bad later. None of that happened. In fact, as I stood on the top of the fire tower and looked at the map of the surrounding mountains, I thought: I’m going to set a goal to hike to the top of some of those. And I have.

Wayah Bald (5,342 ft.) is located in the Nantahala National Forest, near Franklin, North Carolina—a favorite afternoon destination. On a clear day, you can see north to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and south into the rolling hills of Georgia.

A short hike from the summit parking area leads to an old stone fire tower that was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  It’s the panoramic views of the southern Appalachian mountain chain that really tugs at my “wanderlusting” heart.

How do you get there? From Franklin take 64 W for approximately 3 miles, turn right at Wayah Bald/ LBJ Job Corps sign. Turn left on SR 1310 at Loafer’s Glory gas station and travel approximately 8 miles. Turn right onto Wayah Bald turnoff Forest Service Road 69. Follow the gravel road 4.5 miles. The Forest Road, which runs from Wayah Road to the Bald, is closed January-March. This is typical of the mountains in this area, so visit it now and and in fall so you can enjoy the wildflowers and much cooler tempts.

The views are amazing but not as amazing as my favorite: Black Balsam.

Kind of an “in your face” photo. We were all smiles on this day.

Pat even found a baby snake skin!

And I found the White Blaze for the Appalachian Trail. My friend Amy would have passed by here on her way north as she hiked over 1,700 miles on the AT. I’m absolutely no match for her 15 to 20 mile days!

Whether you do crazy long hikes or not, this is just a really sweet area. I begged the group to go there on this day; and after some back and forth, we drove here. Later, all of us agreed that it’s was one of our favorite super short Sunday afternoon places to visit.

Yes, I was playing around with a Neutral Density filer on the little Sony A6000. I’m following this extreme photographer on FB, who is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and her ND photos of clouds are stunning. Check her out: Deborah Scannell Photography.