Linville Gorge was already one of the prettiest places in North Carolina. But this time of year, it gets extra dressed up. During the last few weeks, daffodils have exploded across the Gorge’s open meadows, giving California’s famous super bloom a run for its money. Known as the Daffodil Flats, the fields are a major draw for hikers and photographers in the region. But just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they’re easy to get to.
Every spring, local rescuers see an uptick in accidents. Some flower hunters get lost trying to find the field. Others become cold or dehydrated because they brought incorrect equipment for spring hiking in the mountains. Fatigue is also a major issue for inexperienced hikers; the trail to the Flats boasts about 1,700 feet of elevation gain over just six miles.
The trail is steep and rocky, and the footing is often loose. Without good traction and/or hiking poles, it’s easy to go for a slide. A few weeks ago, a hiker took a misstep and fell off a cliff, reports WSOC-TV. The news outlet wrote that her stumble may have been due to low energy from not bringing enough food.
Burke County Search and Rescue, which is responsible for responding to hiker incidents within the Gorge, recently posted a warning on its Facebook page.
“We had our first daffodil flats [search and rescue event] today, but even before that we have received multiple reports of accidents and many unprepared hikers,” they wrote.
If you venture out to see the super bloom for yourself, be sure to stay on the designated trail. Bring appropriate navigational equipment, plenty of layers, rain gear and more food and water than you expect to need. It’s also smart to come equipped with a headlamp and an emergency communication device just in case.
“Always carry the 10 essentials,” warns Burke County Search and Rescue. “Remember that you not only have to hike in, you also have to hike out.”