May 22

Day 2 – Elevations

Today, we visited various elevations. We began at 2,500 feet, and the highest point was at Richland Balsam at 6,020 feet. As we climbed in elevation, we noticed the trees were not lush and blooming like they were at 2500 feet, but, rather, they were more like vegetation in early spring.

Overall, today was an intense day of hiking, identifying species, observing an elk herd, and riding on the switchbacks. The most relaxing part of the journey was the Chattahoochee Valley. Watching a herd of elk was a rare sight to see. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the bats due to their being ill. We believe they may have WNS or White Nose Syndrome. While we hope they overcome this fungus, it is rapidly affecting thousands of bats in the US.

I have learned so much about the mountains in the past two days. The views are beautiful, and the students have made me feel welcome (I’m an older weekend college student) during this field study.

C. Huston