Savoring the Wildlife on Grandfather Mountain

November 17th, 2011 Permalink

Grandfather Mountain, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a part of the Appalachians, rises 5,946 feet above sea level. The elevation allows the mountain to boast of 16 distinct ecological communities. There are 7 environmental habitats featuring cougars, white-tailed deer, black bears and river otters. The Mile High Swinging Bridge is one mile up and offers visitors 360-degree panoramic views as far as 100 miles away on a clear day. Hikers, nature and animals lovers flock here for the outstanding views, rugged landscapes, and to find the ‘peace of mind’ that nature gives those of us who love it. The Grandfather Mountain website suggests that there is still a part us that is 9 years old and ready for fun and play. “With rocky outcroppings and fragile forest hideaways to explore, it’s easy to tap your inner adventurer.” [46 Photos]

Eagle at Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Looming 5,946 feet above sea level in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is home to 16 distinct ecological communities. The photographer titled this eagle, ‘If You’re Not Outraged…You’re Not Paying Attention!’ The eagles here are rescued victims of hunters and poachers. The wounded bald and golden eagles found in the wild are nursed back to health at specialized rehabilitation centers here. They are returned to the wild if possible, but if the eagle has an injury that will permanently inhibit its ability to survive, they live on Grandfather Mountain. Photo #1 by Kenny P.

Cinnamon Black bear

Cinnamon Black bear. The photographer wrote, “This is not a grizzly or brown bear. His name ironically is Kodiak. He is a rare cinnamon black bear born in 1999. Less then 3% of black bears (on east coast US) have this coloring. Note the large ears and lack of hump that is characteristic of grizzlies.” Photo #2 by Valerie


Wet Pumas

Wet Pumas. According to the photographer, “Mountain lions in their wildlife habitat on Grandfather Mountain.” There are seven environmental habitats on the mountain including cougars, white-tailed deer, black bears, river otters and a golden eagle. Photo #3 by BlueRidgeKitties

The otter side of cute - Grandfather Mt

‘The otter side of cute.’ Photo #4 by Valerie

Sunset at Grandfather Mountain seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunset at Grandfather Mountain as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo #5 by L.F. Lamb

The Mile-High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

The Mile-High Swinging Bridge was built in 1952, is one mile up and offers 360-degree panoramic views from Grandfather Mountain. Photo #6 by Ken Thomas (KenThomas.us)

This is Aspen, the big male cougar on Grandfather Mountain

This is Aspen, the big male cougar on Grandfather Mountain. Photo #7 by BlueRidgeKitties

Sunrise, Moonset

Sunrise, Moonset. The photographer noted, “As the rising sun highlights Grandfather Mountain, the moon sets over the Blue Ridge, and another day awakens in the rhythm of the universe.” Photo #8 by Jim Dollar

Grandfather Under Cover

Grandfather Under Cover. The photographer added, “Grandfather Mountain and the surrounding high peaks received their first snow of the season! The landscapes covered in fall color really made for an exciting day out.” The rugged mountain has many hidden caves and significant cliffs. Photo #9 by Appalachian Encounters

Bear in the wildlife habitat

Bear with a very long tongue in the wildlife habitat. Photo #10 by Amy Meredith

Otter at Grandfather Mountain

‘Hello?’ The photographer noted, “This otter was very curious about me. Or maybe just bored, or hoping for food.” Photo #11 by BlueRidgeKitties

Shadow - Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge

Shadows captured on Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge. The photographer stated, this “228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. The winds at the top were gusting at 50 mi/hr. They would not permit visitors to venture out on the rocks to view the valley below. In another month, the leaves will turn in all their magnificent colors.” Photo #12 by John Dyer

Smoky is a beautiful bear born in 2001 at Grandfather Mountain

Smoky is a beautiful bear born in 2001 at Grandfather Mountain. Photo #13 by Valerie

Sunset Watchers along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunset Watchers along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo #14 by BlueRidgeKitties

Horizontal panorama of Grandfather Mountain from eight vertical HDR images

Horizontal panorama of Grandfather Mountain from eight vertical HDR images. Photo #15 by Frank Kehren

Bald Eagle Portrait Grandfather Mountain

‘Bald Eagle Portrait.’ Photo #16 by BlueRidgeKitties

Deer Grandfather Mountain, NC

White-tailed Deer habitat. Photo #17 by Jamie Williams

Beary Tongue

‘Beary Tongue.’ There are 4 black bears in the habitats: Jane, Kodiak, Smoky and Flower. Photo #18 by BlueRidgeKitties

The Linville River is a popular recreational stream that flows from the southern face of Grandfather Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Linville River is a popular recreational stream that flows from the southern face of Grandfather Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The river flows over Linville Falls and through the Linville Gorge before joining Lake James. Photo #19 by KenThomas.us

An American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) at the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitat

An American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) at the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitat. Photo #20 by KenThomas.us

Dozer is one of two male deer at the Animal Habitats on Grandfather Mountain

Dozer is one of two male deer at the Animal Habitats on Grandfather Mountain. This photographer is well-versed about the place and the animals, writing, “He was born in 2004 and supposed to be released into the wild, but new state regulations made that impossible. To prevent fights between the males, Dozer was neutered. Since the growth of the antlers on the bucks is regulated by sex hormones, which he doesn’t have any more, he doesn’t shed his antlers and they don’t grow normally. So he is left with some odd-looking stumps for antlers. Kubota, the other male, is one year older and had a vasectomy in 2004 to prevent breeding, but will still act like a buck and go into hormone-fueled rut from October to February. I guess Dozer just tries to stay out of Bo’s way during that time as much as possible.” Photo #21 by BlueRidgeKitties

Climbing Grandfather Mountain

Climbing Grandfather Mountain. Photo #22 by Frank Kehren

Grandfather Mountain Hike

Hiking one mile above sea level. Photo #23 by David Joyce

Campfire smoke above Price Lake Twilight at Price Lake along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, N.C

Campfire smoke above Price Lake Twilight at Price Lake along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, N.C. Photo #24 by L.F. Lamb

Atop Grandfather Mountain

Atop Grandfather Mountain. Photo #25 by Valerie

Flower at Grandfather Mountain

Flower, one of a trio of bears at Grandfather Mountain large black bear habitat, was born in 2001. Photo #26 by Valerie

There is something slightly unsettling about being watched by an eagle

“There is something slightly unsettling about being watched by an eagle,” the photographer said. Photo #27 by BlueRidgeKitties

Shhh! Sleepy deer on Grandfather Mountain

‘Shhh! Sleepy deer.’ Photo #28 by BlueRidgeKitties

Otter Portrait Grandfather Mountain

Otter Portrait at the River Otter habitat. Photo #29 by BlueRidgeKitties

Mac Rae Peak (1782m), Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Mac Rae Peak (1782m), Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. Photo #30 by Frank Kehren

Grandfather Mountain before sunrise The Sentinel

‘The Sentinel’ before sunrise. Photo #31 by BlueRidgeKitties

Sunset skies over Grandfather Mountain

Sunset skies over Grandfather Mountain. Photo #32 by BlueRidgeKitties

Mountain Creek Along the Nuwati Trail on Grandfather Mountain

Mountain Creek Along the Nuwati Trail on Grandfather Mountain. Photo #33 by BlueRidgeKitties

'How To Disable Hibernation With Vista'  Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

‘How To Disable Hibernation With Vista.’ Photo #34 by Mike_tn

A Kodiak Moment

‘A Kodiak Moment.’ According to the photographer, “This is Kodiak, the big male bear at the Black Bear Habitat on Grandfather Mountain. He seemed to be posing for the cameras today. He has the rare cinnamon color that can occur in black bears. His female companions are the regular black color. All the bears were shedding fur like crazy. I’ve read they molt in early summer, replacing their old winter coat with a thinner summer coat and then a new thick pelt to get them through the next winter. It was a warm day and they were panting in the heat to stay cool in a similar way that dogs would do. They have a pond in their habitat, but preferred to just sit in the sun and pant rather than take a swim to cool off or seek out the shade. Crazy bears! I guess the view from this ledge was too nice to give up.” Photo #35 by BlueRidgeKitties

Nikita Portrait of the female cougar on Grandfather Mountain

Nikita Portrait of the female cougar on Grandfather Mountain. The knowledgeable photographer noted, “She is getting to be an old lady – born on July 25, 1998, she is now 13 years old. Cougars in the wild usually live 10-12 years. She came to Grandfather Mountain when she was five years old and had spent her entire life in a 20 by 20 foot cage with a concrete slab floor. When she arrived, she was very wary of anything sticking to her feet, be it snow, grass or dirt, and tried to fling it off her paws as she walked around. She certainly has adapted to her much larger and more natural habitat on the mountain though and even at her age obviously still loves to play. Whenever they place some toys, cat nip, or other interesting things into the habitat, she seems to be much more eager than her younger partner Aspen to check it out.” Photo #36 by BlueRidgeKitties

Flat Rock, Grandfather Mountain, Cherokee Woods, North Carolina, USA

Flat Rock, Grandfather Mountain, Cherokee Woods, North Carolina, USA. Photo #38 by Claire Powers

Black bear habitat on Grandfather Mountain

Being casual and lounging in the black bear habitat. Photo #39 by BlueRidgeKitties

Clouds pour over the Raven Rocks and Calloway Peak, as the rising sun illuminates the brilliant fall foliage on the southeastern face of Grandfather Mountain

Clouds pour over the Raven Rocks and Calloway Peak, as the rising sun illuminates the brilliant fall foliage on the southeastern face of Grandfather Mountain. Photo #40 by KenThomas.us

Storm clouds over Grandfather Mountain

Rays escaping the storm clouds over the mountain. Photo #41 by BlueRidgeKitties

The southern face of Grandfather Mountain

The southern face. Photo #42 by KenThomas.us

Rainbow over Grandfather Mountain

Rainbow over Grandfather Mountain. Photo #43 by woodleywonderworks

Mile High Bridge at Grandfather Mountain, NC

The famous “mile-high swinging bridge” offers views of up to 100 miles (160 km) on a clear day. Photo #44 by Maciej Ciupa

Fat Bear before winter hibernation

Fat Bear before winter hibernation. Photo #45 by BlueRidgeKitties

Rough Ridge before sunrise. Fog fills valleys along the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Blowing Rock, N.C.

Rough Ridge before sunrise. Fog fills valleys along the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Blowing Rock, N.C. Photo #46 by L.F. Lamb


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