Return to Gregory Bald - Part 6
Reflections and Conclusions

by Donald W. Hyatt

My return to Gregory Bald has made me realize several things. First, we need to identify and preserve the best forms of the very unique azaleas that inhabit the bald. The Park Service has been doing an excellent job in restoring the bald, but what can be done to preserve and distribute some of the finer forms that are growing there? We must not lose these treasures. Second, we should continue to look for subtle clues as to the origins of the azaleas that made their way to this mountain. Historians should try to collect old photographs of the bald and botanists could to try to determine the age and map the location of these original plants. I have met people who hiked to Gregory more than fifty years ago to see the blooms; what was it like then. I am certain that there are many others who know every plant on that mountain by heart. We need to share and publish that information before it too gets lost in time. Third, I realize that I will have to go back to Gregory again and again. People who have experienced Gregory Bald when the azaleas are in bloom, seem compelled to return. As George and I were on our way down the mountain this time, we spoke briefly with two elderly gentlemen who were walking slowly up the trail. With cane in one hand and cell phone in pocket for emergency assistance, they confided that they had to see the azaleas one more time. And so it will be with me, for it is in my blood. If the azaleas are in bloom and I can find someone to join me on the grueling hike, I'll be returning to Gregory Bald as often as I possibly can.

Gregory Fuchsia Red

Return to Gregory Bald
1. Introduction and Cade's Cove
2. Forge Creek and the Lower Trail
3. Upper Trail and Entrance to the Bald
4. Exploring Gregory Bald
5. Discoveries and a Brush with Nature
6. Reflections and Concluding Remarks

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About the Author

Don Hyatt's General Garden Page
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