A familiar resident of the high elevations, this is a Slate-colored Junco. You'll see this species mentioned on one of the sign boards on the way up the trail. Often times, the Junco will build a nest under the berm beside a trail. As you come up on the nest, they will fly out of the berm and hop down the trail just in front of you, which I speculate is to entice you (the would-be predator) away from the nest.
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Western North Carolina