Editor’s note: This article first appeared in a January 2005 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.
“If it form the one landscape that we …
Are consistently homesick for, this is chiefly
Because it dissolves in water …
What I hear is the murmur of underground streams,
what I see is a limestone landscape.”
— “In Praise Of Limestone,“ W.H. Auden (May 1948)
The topography and vegetation here in our part of Western North Carolina is among the most varied and attractive in North America. Most all of the distinctive natural features of the southern highlands — from spruce-fir and upland hardwood coves to highland bogs, escarpment gorges, and grassy balds — can readily be sought out and explored here in the far southwestern counties of the state.