I saw a blooming lilac! My standout memory of yesterday’s NC hike was seeing, flashing by at highway speeds, huge lilacs in two different yards. Down here, as I understand it, we don’t get cold enough weather for lilacs to bloom, so no one plants them. I have seen a dwarf variety at the Botanical Garden that does bloom here, but I find the reduced shrub-shape rather unsatisfying.
We also had a ruffed grouse (I think) cross the road, relatively unconcerned at our appearance from around the curve. It looked like a hen, and was travelling alone. No photo.
Those had to be the species high-points, along with the bluets that lined the AT here and there.