Joe DeLoach reporting
Because of the threatening weather forecast for April 16th, we decided to postpone our Spring Wildflower Hike at Rock Creek Falls until April 17th. This worked out well, as the 17th was a beautiful day, while the 16th was stormy and windy as predicted. With 13 hikers, including many first-timers, we squeezed under the Unaka Mountain Wilderness group size limit of 14. The rainy spring made the four creek crossings a challenge, but other than wet feet, there was only one slight slip and dip. The Cherokee National Forest has worked on the trail including putting in stepping stones at each crossing, but most were under water (this was the highest water level the hike leader has seen in six trips to the falls). We saw 21 types of flowers and flowering trees, including numerous red erect trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, gay wings, trout lilies, spring beauties, and several species of violets. Our youngest hiker, 7-year old Haley Moran, also spotted some morel mushrooms within the Rock Creek Recreation Area. Joining Haley on the hike were Kelley and Blanche Moran, John Macpherson, Jacqueline Senosain, Justin Starr, Donna Ashby, Mary Fanslow, newcomer to East Tennessee Troy Greenwald, Bob Jackson, Kiernan Tonnies, and Joe DeLoach.