“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.”
― Neil Gaiman
Each year, at this time, I feel compelled to take my camera to Roan Mountain State Park to photograph the rhododendron in bloom. Due to other scheduled activities, I did not think that I was going to be able to make it this year.
For the past few days, I have seen posts from friends who were heading to Roan Mountain to photograph. I talked myself into believing it would be fine for me to miss out on a trip to Roan during the rhododendron bloom
this year. I had almost entirely convinced myself when a dear friend sent me an email letting me know that she and her husband (also my very dear friend) planned to photograph the sunrise Friday morning. It was at that moment that I knew that I had to at least go for one sunrise. I set my alarm for 1:15 a.m., got up, loaded the car and made my way to Roan Mountain State Park in time to meet my friends in the Carver’s Gap parking lot by 5:15 a.m.
This year, the rhododendron are not blooming nearly as early as usual. I typically photograph the bloom a couple of weeks prior to this weekend. When my friends and I arrived, we saw that the blooms were far from plentiful. I did enjoy seeing the ones that were in bloom, but found that the rhododendron were not my focus for photography.
We hiked up to Round Bald in time for sunrise. There was nothing spectacular going on in the sky, so I focused on this stack of rocks that someone constructed before our visit.
It wasn’t until the sun was up in the sky that I found the image that made me smile that morning.
I was immediately drawn to this happy dog face studying me as I was photographing.
Although I did not come home with images of blooming rhododendron, I saw them blooming and experienced one of my favorite places on Earth during sunrise with dear friends. It was a great way to start the day!