Light morning exercise before breakfast. Driving approximately 25 miles total throughout the day; about one hour roundtrip. Hiking approximately 6 miles roundtrip; about 6 hours; moderately strenuous terrain; elevation gain/loss of approximately 1,200 feet. Stream crossings over rocks; waterproof boots are recommended. Hiking about 2 miles on loop trail, up to 2 hours, can be muddy in spots; trail is highly trafficked with steps built into the mountain; approximate elevation gain 600 feet.
We’ll enjoy a breakfast buffet in the dining hall featuring a different entree each day, such as eggs, pancakes, and French toast. Other breakfast options include a breakfast meat, vegetable and tofu dish, fresh fruit, hot and cold cereals and grits, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, and water.
Each morning before breakfast, a staff member will lead a session of gentle stretching, breathing, or yoga exercises. Joining in, we’ll loosen up and get ready for an adventurous day on the trail. We'll hop in our vans and head out for our first destination of the day. The Bartram Trail leads from Highway 106 at our trailhead to the Scaly Mountain summit, starting off steeply as it passes a waterfall. Stretching over 115 miles, the trail passes through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. William Bartram’s travels along this iconic route between 1773 and 1777 were instrumental in documenting descriptions of the largely unspoiled environment including plants and ecosystems. Continuing on the Bartram Trail, we’ll navigate a series of fairly easy switchbacks along the northeast slope before passing through a series of ancient oaks. The views are expansive with sparkling mountain lakes and green pastures dotted below.
Along the trail, we’ll have our lunches that we packed at breakfast, featuring a sandwich, fresh fruit, chips, granola bar, cookie and water to fill our water bottles with.
This afternoon, we'll drive about half an hour to the nearby Whiteside Mountain Recreation Area. Upon arrival, we’ll set out on a beautiful hiking loop, which offers panoramic views and a plethora of wildflowers. Our Group Leaders will share their knowledge of botany and ecosystems along the way. At the conclusion of our hike, we will return to the lodge with some time to relax and enjoy some wine and camaraderie with our fellow Road Scholars.
Dining hall buffet.
Our group leader will present information from his newly-released book on the natural history of Western North Carolina.