April 1, 2017, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cochran Shoals Unit, CobbCounty

Posted under: Atlanta area .

Showy Orchis, Orchis spectabilis,  Photo by Mike Christison

Showy Orchis, Orchis spectabilis, Photo by Mike Christison

 Meet:   10:00 at Powers Island Unit – across the bridge in Fulton County.

Description: We’ll  take a short walk across the bridge and use the busy riverside trail to reach the Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk over the wetlands. Here we’ll enter another world occupied by hundreds of southern nodding trilliums (Trillium rugelli) in various stages of bloom. We will continue walking in the Gunby Creek area of Cochral Shoals to find other spring delights including Atamasco lilies (Zephyranthes atamasco), showy orchis (Orchis spectabilis ) and foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia). We will probably find Hepatica leaves, but the flowers will have bloomed a month ago. We’ll lunch in the woods along the way or and enjoy our time in this beautiful forest.  If we cannot find suitable logs  and rocks to sit on, we may lunch at the picnic tables along the river.

If Spring is early, we may head over to Paces Mill ( a 10 minute drive) to look for horsesugar trees  (Symplocos tinctoria) in flower along the river and flames azaleas (Rhododendron flammeum) on top of the ridge. Both normally blooom the first week of April.

Directions: Meet at the Powers Island Unit in Fulton County where parking is plentiful. We will walk over the river to the Cochran Shoals Unit.  The GPS coordinates for Powers Island are: 33° 54′ 10.42″ N, 84° 26′ 28.3″ W. If you need specific directions, please contact trip leader.

Leader: Maureen Donohue,   marinadono67@gmail.com, 770-990-7756.

Atamasco-lily, Zephyranthes atamasca, Photo by Richard and Teresa Ware

Atamasco-lily, Zephyranthes atamasca Photo by Richard and Teresa Ware

Facilities: Restrooms are available at Cochran Shoals and Paces Mill Units

Difficulty: Mostly flat terrain with a few short hills, ~ 3 miles at Cochran Shoals and 2 miles at Paces Mill where there is one large hill to see the azaleas, but they are worth it.At Cochran Shoals we may have to walk/climb over fallen trees on the trail.

Bring: Bring camera, hand lens, field guide, $3.00 parking fee or annual /senior pass, water and a pack lunch or snacks.