Is this different from Mountain laurel?
Yes, very different. I know the Mountain Laurel, and we do have that here as well, but not in near the numbers of the wild Rhododendron. The Rhodo looks just like the kind in everyone's yard, except the wild variety has less blooms per plant, although still covered, and all I have seen is white and a pale pink. The plant is also much bigger and more gangly that the cultivated variety. But it literally covers some of the hillsides, especially those with streams.