It’s that beautiful time of year again when the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) bloom along the trails and in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Mountain Laurel are similar to, and often mistaken for, Rhododendron. In the Smokies the Laurel bloom primarily during May, while the Rhododendron come along in June and July.
One of the Featured Photographs at the William Britten Gallery is Path to Serenity, which shows a hillside of Mountain Laurel blooming along the trail to Spruce Flat Falls.
One of the best displays of Mountain Laurel can be found along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. At the top of the hill there is a parking area to the left. In early to mid-May you can see the thickets of laurel from your car, but to get the full effect, get out and walk in among all the blooms.
I was in that spot photographing, deep in my private reverie with my eyes in the camera viewfinder. Suddenly I heard some snorting and clomping, and looked up to see that a doe had joined me in the laurel thicket. She was unafraid, and stayed close by for 30 minutes or so, even when I moved my tripod from spot to spot.
Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.