Friday, November 10, 2017, Grass-of-Parnassus, FDR State Park, Harris & Meriweather Counties

Posted under: Middle Georgia .

Meet: 10:00, at Rocky Point Trailhead Parking Lot, FDR State Park. We will leave a few cars, then carpool to the Boottop Trail Parking Area.

Description: The focus of this trip to FDR State Park will be to see a spectacular display of kidney-leaf grass-of-Parnassus, Parnassia asarifolia. In past years, this display has been at its best on or about Veteran’s Day.  The site is a boggy springhead on the south side of Pine Mountain.  Gentiana saponaria, soapwort gentian is another possibility for this wet area.  We’ll walk part of the Pine Mountain Trail, hopefully with colorful fall foliage and a wildflower or two along the way.  We should see a couple of American chestnuts, Castanea dentata on the way to the grass-of-Parnassus site.

Directions: From the Atlanta area, Take I-85 south to Exit 41 (I-185), and head south on US 27Alt.   Stay on US 27Alt all the way through the town of Warm Springs, then up the side of Pine Mountain.  Just as you top the crest of Pine Mountain, you will see GA 190 and the western entrance to FDR State Park.  Turn right onto 190 (heading west) and go just under 2 miles to the Rocky Point Trailhead parking lot on the left.  From the south, take US 27A north from Columbus until you crest Pine Mountain.  Turn left onto GA 190 and go to the Rocky Point Trailhead parking lot.

 Walking: Moderate.  We’ll walk approximately 2.4 miles of the Pine Mountain Trail, with the grass-of-Parnassus site just past midway.  The trail is rocky, but well-used and well maintained. 

Facilities: There are no facilities at the western end of FDR State Park.  Last facilities will be in Warm Springs.  However, we have managed to place trees, rocks and tangles of vegetation at regular intervals for your privacy and convenience. 

Bring: Comfortable walking shoes, $5.00 parking fee or annual pass, water, camera, binoculars to see features high in the trees, and a lunch to eat somewhere along the trail.  You can probably leave the bug spray at home this time.  Dress for the weather.