Nearby we found several Pipevine Swallowtails (blue with orange spots under the wings) on some bushes, maybe pipevines. Because adult butterflies are poisonous to predators from all the pipevine they eat as caterpillars, most birds avoid them, which could explain why we saw so many.
The Pipevine Swallowtails, like other butterflies, have an unusual habit of "puddling". Puddling is when many butterflies are seen at one spot, such as a shallow puddle, mud, or animal poop. When we drove into Cataloochee we found hundreds of these beautiful butterflies on the dirt road, many flattened by car tires. It was difficult to drive down the road and not run them over.
Perhaps the prettiest we saw this day was this beautiful orange Gulf Fritillary. It seemed to pose for me. I noticed many of the butterflies were happy to sit still, which seemed unusual. I don't know if they were resting up for the long journey, enjoying the sun and flowers, or it was just nearing the end of butterfly season.
I used to think spring time was the time for flowers and new growth. Now I'm seeing these God Signs in the late summer and early fall time. What a blessing to live so close to the Smoky Mountains. We are going to be back again and again.
If you're impressed with my knowledge of butterflies, don't be. I used the Discover Life website to look these up.