Monday, July 10, 2017

Mid-Summer 2017 In The Appalachians


July 8, 2017
Jefferson National Forest
Rhododendrons ( Rhododendron maximum )
Bloom At High Knob Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A beautiful beginning to the second week of July featured reduced humidity and lower temperatures in the high country, with 40s to lower 50s in mountain valleys.

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High Knob Lake
June 2017 Temperatures
Elevation 3527 feet

Average Daily MAX: 69.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 52.2 degrees
MEAN: 60.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 75 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 44 degrees

The coldest nights during June occurred in high valleys of the Big Cherry Lake Basin where colder places had average minimums in the upper 40s.  Rather striking when considering that the typical night at the Big Cherry Wetland Valley 4 site was nearly the same as the coldest night observed up at the summit level of the massif on Eagle Knob.

Eagle Knob
June 2017 Temperatures
Elevation 4188 feet

Average Daily MAX: 66.2 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 55.7 degrees
MEAN: 61.0 degrees
Highest Temperature: 72 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 47 degrees

Cold air drainage is a dominant feature of complex terrain throughout the year, with summer being no exception, as is being well documented by a University Of Virginia's College At Wise undergraduate field research project 
in the High Knob Massif.

*Minimum temperature forecasts tend to poorly capture this microclimatological aspect, that over long-time periods establish conditions which enhance biological diversity.

July 8, 2017
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Early Evening Beauty At High Knob Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although days were warmer in the high valleys than on the crestlines, colder nights allowed mean June temperatures to be around or just under the 61.0 degree average observed on Eagle Knob at nearly 4200 feet above mean sea level.

Rosebay Rhododendron ( Rhododendron maximum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While Rosebay Rhododendrons are a featured species currently in bloom, many others are blooming or poised to do so within the next few days within the high country.  A few notable ones include:

Tall Milkweed
( Asclepias exaltata )

Mountain Black Cohosh
( Actaea podocarpa )

Near Sunset ( July 2016 )
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Turk's-cap Lily Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Turk's-cap Lily
( Lilium superbum )

July 15, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Turk's-cap Lily Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Canada Lily
( Lilium canadense )

Large-leaved Phlox
( Phlox amplifolia )

Wood Nettles ( Laportea canadensis ) have now 
met or exceeded their maximum reported height, according to the Flora Of Virginia, and are growing in thick patches within rich, northern hardwoods at upper elevations.

Eagle Knob
July 1-15, 2017 Temperatures
Elevation 4188 feet

Average Daily MAX: 70.1 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 60.9 degrees
MEAN: 65.5 degrees
Highest Temperature: 74 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 58 degrees

July 15, 2017
Elevation 3900 feet
Camp Rock Meadow of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 15, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Chicken Mushroom ( Laetiphorus sulphureus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Mount Rogers National 
Recreation Area

2017 July 19
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Phillip C. Shelton, professor emeritus, and I recently surveyed birds in the high country of Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

2017 July 19
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The two day hike and survey began in 
beautiful Grayson Highlands State Park,
and continued through the high country
into Lewis Fork Wilderness Area.

2017 July 19 At 1832 Hours
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Conditions were unseasonably warm on the hike upward to Cabin Ridge, even amid this highest terrain in Virginia, with the weather station in Grayson Highlands State Park recording a MAX temperature of 79.1 degrees ( 26.2 Celsius ) 
at 1820 hours on July 19.

2017 July 19 At 1833 Hours
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The air was unsaturated, such that if the temperature dropped at the standard dry adiabatic lapse rate of 9.8 degrees Celsius per kilometer the maximum at the summit of Mount Rogers would have been 69.8 degrees ( based upon the 79.1 degree Grayson Highlands SP maximum ).

2017 July 19 At 1839 Hours
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It was a little cooler; however, 
than that within the coniferous forest
at the 1746 meter ( 5729 feet ) summit
level of Virginia's highest mountain.

2017 July 19 At 1841 Hours
Crepuscular Rays of Drying Insolation
Cabin Ridge of Mount Rogers NRA
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Phil has likely spent more time on Mount Rogers than anyone alive today, amid hundreds of trips made into this wilderness during the past 47 years. 

2017 July 19 At 1842 Hours
Phil Shelton In Cabin Ridge Meadow
Mount Rogers NRA High Country
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 0645 Hours
Lewis Fork Wilderness Area
Sunrise Near The Summit Of Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A morning temperature of 15 degrees Celsius 
( 59 degrees Fahrenheit ) greeted the dawn of 
July 20 near the summit level of Mount Rogers.

2017 July 20 At 0734 Hours
Sunrise On The Summit Of Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 0736 Hours
Summit Level Of Mount Rogers
Sunlight Penetrates Spruce-Fir Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 0747 Hours
Summit Level Of Mount Rogers
Sunlight Penetrates Spruce-Fir Forest
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 0847 Hours
Rare Open View From Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1006 Hours
Looking Toward Whitetop Mountain
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1007 Hours
High Country Of Mount Rogers NRA
Looking At Crest Line Of Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1007 Hours
High Country Of Mount Rogers NRA
Looking At Crest Line Of Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1008 Hours
High Country Of Mount Rogers NRA
Looking At Crest Line Of Mount Rogers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1012 Hours
High Country Of Mount Rogers NRA
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1024 Hours
Table-mountain Pine ( Pinus pungens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1035 Hours
Looking Toward Whitetop Mountain
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1040 Hours
Classic High Country Vista
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1100 Hours
Puffy Cumulus Build Along High Country
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1100 Hours
Puffy Cumulus Build Along High Country
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1102 Hours
Puffy Cumulus Build Along High Country
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

2017 July 20 At 1102 Hours
Puffy Cumulus Build Along High Country
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Independence Day Fireworks
Town Of Clintwood

Despite rain showers, the fireworks show in Clintwood turned out well following an afternoon maximum of 79 degrees ( 67 degrees on Eagle Knob & 69 degrees at High Knob Lake, by comparison ).

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 4, 2017
Independence Day Fireworks
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Cultivated Summer Flowers

July 16, 2017
Lemon-Yellow Lily Hybrid
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 16, 2017
Xenia With A Friend
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 16, 2017
Xenia With Friends
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 16, 2017
Xenia Garden
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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