Spring Wildflower Hike April 7 – Margarette Falls

Joe DeLoach hike notice
(Scheduled for Saturday, April 7, 2012)

The combination of wildflowers and waterfalls has led to some popular Club hikes, and we’re hoping for the same with this short hike to Margarette Falls.  One of our prettiest area waterfalls, Margarette Falls drops about 60 feet and descends through a rocky canyon adorned by many spring flowers.  The Unaka Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest has improved the trail with some relocation and a bridge, and the trail makes a great family hike suitable for young children.  Round-trip distance is about 3 miles with an elevation gain of around 700 feet; see our listing in the Trail Wiki for more information.  The flowers are early this year with all the warm weather, but early April can be cold, wet, and fickle so bring layers of clothes and good raingear.  We’ll meet at 9:00 AM in the parking lot between McDonald’s and State of Franklin Bank in Colonial Heights.  A meeting point in Boones Creek can be arranged for people who live towards Johnson City.  We’ll plan on lunch at the falls and get you back in the early afternoon.  Please contact Joe if you’d like to go or for more information.

Friday Hikers: AT – Braemar to Shook Branch, June 10

Collins Chew reporting

We hiked from Braemar over Pond Mountain on the AT to Shook Branch to measure a new relocation near the top of Pond Mountain.  The relocation measured 1851 feet long and the entire section ended up 0.1 miles shorter than the guide book distance.  We walked about 7 miles including the mile on the blue-blaze trail from Braemar.  There were a fair number of wildflowers with Mountain Laurel the showiest.  I was also fascinated by the white and pink-flowered shrub at low elevations at both ends.  I guess it is Corymbed Spirea.  The flower spikes of Galax got the most comments.  Some flame azalea was still blooming.  Hikers were:  Bob Harvey, Lowell Toof, and Collins Chew.

Buffalo Mountain Park Day, May 28

Contact: Brad Jones, 423-283-5821

Friends of Nature and the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department present a “Unique day of hiking” with local guest naturalists.  Spring is a great time of year to enjoy nature at its finest.  Come out and learn about the biology and natural history of Buffalo Mountain Park and take some great day hikes.  The event features some great leaders.  Wildflowers with Tim McDowell, Salamanders with Kevin Hamed, James Brooks with Birds, Jeremy Stout and Bob Whittemore with Geology, Kathy Landy with Aquatic Insects, and Brad Jones with Butterflies.  The event starts with Birds at 7 am and ends at 5 pm with Butterflies.   For more information, call Johnson City Parks and Recreation Park Naturalist at Winged Deer Park, 423-283-5821.

Friday Hikers: GSMNP – Porters Creek Trail, April 22

Collins Chew reporting

We had a day of glorious wildflowers on the Porters Creek Trail in the Smokies.  Jerry Jones did great in recommending it.  The weatherman blew it again as we had only a sprinkling of rain at the Kingsport meeting place and none in the Smokies.  It was sunny in the afternoon.  We had almost continuous wildflowers of many varieties almost all the way, including the showiest orchids I have ever seen.  There were a great number of other hikers enjoying the flowers as well.  I hope to make a list of flowers for those who were there and any others who request it.  Hikers were: Olin Babb, first timer Wilford Corbin, Bob Harvey, Jerry Jones, Jerry Sluder, Deb and Eric Vrshansky, and Collins Chew.

Rock Creek Falls, April 17

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.