Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Great Smoky Mountains -The Return of the Elk

One of the wonderful things about Western North Carolina are all of the mountain ranges that surrounds us. Andon-Reid Inn is central to the Great Smoky Mountains, Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We love sending our guests up into Cataloochee Valley, an area of the Great Smoky Mountains for hiking and viewing wildlife. The edges of Cataloochee's meadows are good places to look for elk, deer, bear, wild turkey and other wildlife.

The Elk which once roamed the southern Appalachian Mountains were eliminated with all the over-hunting and loss of habitat. The return of the elk has been a mission of the National Park Service since 2001 with outstanding success. We pack a picnic for our guests and send them up there to do some great hiking and then in the late afternoon just sit back and view the elk as they graze. In the Spring most elk shed their antlers and immediately begin to grow new ones. Most calves are born in the June as well as the antlers by August can reach the width of 5 feet. Male elk make their legendary bugling calls to challenge other bulls and attract cows in the fall and in winter they grow a two-layer coat for the cold months ahead.

Whenever you are visiting us in Waynesville, NC, the elk will be here waiting for you in all their glory.

Rachel Reid, Very Happy Innkeeper

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