Unaka Mountain summit hike, red spruce

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I found this lovely hike on a blog called Appalachian Treks, which I love. The focus is in my region, and he keeps detailed directions and a customized Google map that is super helpful for me when trying to choose a hike near my current location. Also, his photos are so pretty it makes me want to get outside NOW. So I did.

The interesting thing about this hike is that it doesn’t culminate in a scenic overlook or a waterfall, as most hikes around here. Instead, it’s a beautiful old stand of red spruce (shown in two pictures above). Aside from it being a Monday escape from the world into the cool mountains on a hot day, it was pretty amazing because of all the spring ephemeral wildflowers – spring beauty, bluets, trillium, trout lilies, the works. I’m going to have to bring my wildflower guide next time, and maybe a better camera. You can find the directions to this hike (as well as some gorgeous photos) on Appalachian Treks.

 

Spring Ephemerals

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My biology class took a wildflower walk on Trout Lily Trail today, a fairly easy path in Panther Creek State Park. It’s a good time to spot spring ephemerals, the flowers that take advantage of our deciduous forests to get a super quick bloom time in the spring before the trees leaf out. This trail is known for being loaded with them. Among the many, many flowers we spotted are the bloodroot above.

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I am such a fan of Dutchman’s breeches. The name really just makes it, don’t you think?

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Spring beauty, tiny little fragrant flowers among the first to pop out.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back for better pictures of the twin leaf, bluets, trout lilies, trillium, wild phlox, and toothwort. Also saw a few I don’t know (yet.)