I went on a hike in the woods at night three times to this trail to get this photo.
The first time I went to photograph at this location, I wanted to capture light trails causes by a headlamp that my friend Kenny would wear. I discover that over a long exposure, the stars appeared to spiral around a central location in the sky. I was unaware at the time, but in the night sky, the stars spiral around the North Star, Polaris, with a long exposure.
There is a wide open clearing on the Sims Creek Trail that is protected from the city lights of Blowing Rock, as it is in a valley. Light pollution from cities can cause an ugly orange glow in photos of the night sky. I wasn't able to go for a super-long exposure facing North with Kenny, because it was really cold to not be moving around, just waiting for the camera.
I went back a second time with my friend Daniela to try to get this photo, but it was cloudy. It was frustrating to not be able to capture the stars, but we did play around with light over long exposures, so it was not a total waste of time.