May 28, 2016. 9:30 AM, Roadside Botanizing: Cohutta Mountains, Gilmer & Fanin Counties

Posted under: North Georgia; Roadside Botanizing.

Message from Trip Leader:

The May 28 Roadside Botanizing trip in the Cohuttas is in jeopardy of cancellation due to circumstances beyond BotSoc control.  Extensive storm damage has resulted in closure of a portion of Forest Service Road 64 (Three Forks Road, the one we drive for the trip) beyond Three Forks Trailhead to Jacks River Fields Campground. There is no scheduled reopen date for the road and additional closures are likely as repair work is implemented (to safely move equipment and large trucks on the narrow, winding roads).  Leader Rich Reaves will be monitoring the status of the road and the web listing will be updated to reflect whether the trip is on as scheduled or an alternate trip will be necessary.  Details on an alternate trip  will be posted as available.

 

Meet:  9:20 AM (Note early time) Pinhoti Trail Parking Area on FS90

Description: We will drive along the Forest Service roads stopping to look at flowers along the way.  There will be several short excursions form the cars, always along the road. We can expect to find several trilliums, 4-leaved milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majuscula), wood betony (Pedicularis canadensis), fire pink (Silene virginica), and much more. Some years the Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) has been very nice and occasionally we come across some Yellow Ladyslippers.

Directions: Take I-575/ GA 515 north to East Ellijay to turn left on GA 52. At ~5 mi west of the square on GA 52, turn right on Gates Chapel Rd. When pavement ends the road will fork, take Wilderness Trail/ FR 90 (dirt road to the right). At ~0.9 mi do not turn left at WMA sign for Pinhoti Trail. Continue 0.1 mi to Pinhoti Trail Parking on right on FS90.Carpooling is encouraged to minimize our parking footprint on the narrow unpaved roads.

Walking: Easy, probably all within 500 feet of cars.

Facilities: Only what nature provides.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.

Leader(s): Rich Reaves, 770‑827‑5186, rich.reaves@att.net

 

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 9:30 am, Roadside Botanizing: Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (CHL), Otto, NC

Posted under: North Carolina.

Date/Time: May 29, 9:30 AM (Note early start time.)

Woody Gap

Saxifrage michauxii

Meet at: CHL parking lot, adjacent to main laboratory building (off of Ball Creek Road)

Description: We will drive along the Forest Service roads stopping to look at flowers along the way.  There will be several short excursions form the cars, always along or just off of the road.  In past years, on or about this date, we have seen approximately fifty species of wildflowers and flowering shrubs blooming along the route we will be taking.  Among these are alumroot (Heuchera americana), whorled loosestrife (Lysmachia quadrifoflia), poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), goat’s beard (Aruncus diocius), false goat’s beard (Astilbe biternata), Michaux’s saxifrage (Saxifraga michauxii), speckled wood lily (Clintonia umbellulata), including a striking deep purple color variant.  If we are lucky, we may also see pale (rock) harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens), if the season is delayed, and/or small (lesser) purple fringed orchid (Platanthera psycodes), if the season is running a little late.  Of course, many of the common montane spring ephemerals will be on display, including several of the trilliums and Solomon’s seal.

Directions:  Make your way to Hwy 441 in northeast Georgia and head north through Clayton and Dillard, GA.  Measuring from the GA/NC line, just north of Dillard, go north on Hwy 441 for 3.4 miles.  Look for the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory U.S. Forest Service sign on the left.  Turn here and proceed down Coweeta Lab Road for 3.0 miles.  At the lab, you will see a fork in the road, with Ball Creek Road (FS 83) on the left and FS 751 on the right.  The main lab office is located between the two roads at the fork.  The student dorms are located a short distance down FS 751 (on the right).  We will meet in the parking lot behind the main office and carpool.

Walking: Easy, probably all within 500 feet of cars.

Facilities: The student dormitory will be open for “visitation” before we start, during a mid-trip break when we move from FS 751 to Ball Creek Road and at the end of the field trip.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.

Leader:  Don Hunter, 706-207-0013, caverdon24@gmail.com

Monday, May 30, 2016, (Memorial Day) 10:00 AM, Reed Branch Wet Meadow Preserve, Towns County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Field Trip Leaders:  Hal Massie and Rich Reaves

Description: Reed Branch Wet Meadow is a Nature Conservancy Preserve that protects the only natural population of Federally Endangered green pitcher plant, Sarracenia oreophila in Georgia.  It is also the last example in Georgia of a low mountain bog.  Besides pitcher plants, Reed Branch is host to numerous plants normally associated with the coastal plain, such as colic root (Aletris farinosa) and sundew (Drosera sp.), among others. If we are lucky, we will find a beautiful, if ghostly, orchid – ragged fringed orchid, Platanthera lacera.  The preserve encompasses 8 acres, with the green pitcher plants concentrated into about 1 acre of the property.

Location and Directions: Reed Branch is between Hiawassee and the North Carolina state line. Take US 76 to Hiawassee from either the west or east.  In Hiawassee, turn north on GA 75 and go approximately 3 miles to Mull Rd., which will be on the left.  If you see a sign that says ‘Welcome to North Carolina’, you have gone too far.  Almost immediately after turning left onto Mull Road, there will be a parking area on the left just behind a gate.

Meet at:  The Reed Branch Wet Meadow Preserve on Mull Road.

Bathroom Facilities: There are no facilities at the Reed Branch preserve.  Last facilities are in Hiawassee.

Walking Difficulty:   This will be a very easy walk.  The preserve is only slightly sloped toward Lake Chatuge.  The upper portion of the Preserve may require that we walk through a very narrow trail in dense vegetation. It will be important to stay in single file and be careful where you step.  Reed Branch is not open to the public and we have special permission for this trip. This is a very sensitive area – please follow the guidance of the trip leaders and obey all restrictions. 

Lunch:  Bring to eat at the vehicles, or plan to eat in Hiawassee after the field trip.

Bring:  Camera, hat (nearly the entire preserve is in the open), hand lens, sunny disposition.

Contact:  Hal Massie  massiefarm@aol.com,  478-957-6095 (cell will be on the morning of the hike,  Rich Reaves,   rich.reaves@att.net

 

Saturday, 4 June 2016 – Lake Winfield Scott Fungal Foray, Union County

Posted under: North Georgia.


Trip Leader:  Bill Sheehan

Description:  This is an easy to moderate walk with some easy off-trail walking in and about Lake Winfield Scott National Recreation Area.  We will be looking for fleshy mushrooms and any other fungi we come across, both large and small.  Our emphasis will be on diversity and ecology. We have permission to collect one or two samples of what we find, which we will bring back to a central location, spread out, and review at the end.  Fungi are the primary decay organisms that cycle plants back into plants; they’re critical enablers of plant nutrition through roots; and they can be parasites or predators of plants as well.  With perhaps 4,000 species of fungi (not to mention slime molds) in the Georgia mountains, we’ll have lots to work with!  For botanists, come learn about “the rest of the story…”
Directions:  From Atlanta, take GA 400 north for about 60 miles, until it ends just south of Dahlonega.  Turn left there onto Ga Hwy 60 and take GA 60 toward and around Dahlonega.  Continue for about 15 miles on Hwy 60, heading toward Suches through the National Forest.  You will drive through Stone Pile Gap, bearing to the left at the pile of rocks to stay on GA 60. Continue uphill, crossing Woody Gap, then going downhill, passing Woody Lake on the right.  Shortly after the lake, watch for Ga Hwy 180 on the right (there is a service station/convenience store at that corner).  Turn right on Hwy 180 and go for about 4.5 miles.  Turn right into Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area, stop to pay the $5 entrance fee, then continue to the parking area above the lake.

Meet At:  Park in the parking lot above Lake Winfield Scott bath house and walk back downhill to meet at the trailhead by 10:00 AM.

Facilities:  At the convenience store and at the bathhouse on the lake near the meeting site.

Walking:  Mostly easy to moderate, slow, poking about in the woods. Total distance about 1.5 miles, about 4 hours.

Lunch:  Bring to eat on trail.

Bring:  Five dollars per vehicle for entrance fee to Lake Winfield Scott (less with federal senior pass), sturdy shoes for walking, rain gear (you never know!), lunch, extra water.  A hand lens and small basket would be useful.

Contact:  Bill Sheehan, bill@productpolicy.org, 706-247-2500

 

Sunday, June 5, 2016, Chestatee River Canoe Float & Late Spring Flora, Lumpkin County

Posted under: Canoe Trips; North Georgia.

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Trip Leader:  Jerry Hightower

Description: The beautiful Chestatee River flows out of the mountains north of Dahlonega into the Chattahoochee and is an easy 6.3 mile float punctuated with several very mild rapids. Paddle past banks covered with rhododendron and mountain laurel, ferns, and wildflowers. River birch, oaks, and sycamores tower overhead, draped with muscadine, Virginia creeper, and cross vine.  Sheer cliffs slip into currents that flow around the remains of old gold mining operations. We will stop at Big Bend Beach for a picnic lunch and perhaps a swim. This river is more beautiful than the gold beneath its waters. This will be a very leisurely float with multiple investigative stops to fondle plants, terrorize turtles, and startle snakes.

Location:  We will meet at the Appalachian Outfitters Outpost on Highway 60 near Dahlonega at 10:00 a.m.  There is a small shuttle fee. Bring your own boat or rent canoes and kayaks for the outfitters.  If you would like more information on rentals or to reserve a canoe or kayak please call Appalachian Outfitters at 1-800-426-7117.

Facilities:  Restrooms and changing rooms are available at Appalachian Outfitters Outpost.

Difficulty:  Suitable for beginners with some experience on rivers.  Class 1.5

Bring:  Lunch, snacks, sunscreen, hat, rain gear, and water. Camera, binoculars, and hand lens are recommended. Bring a day pack or other bag and also a water proof container or bag for your valuables.

Please contact Jerry Hightower at 404-953-9331 or jerryhightower@hotmail.com if you are planning on joining this trip.

 

 

 

June 25, 2016, Fern ID Workshop & Walk, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, DeKalb County

Posted under: Atlanta area; Workshops.

Meet:  10:00 AM at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, 3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038

Description:  Fern Identification Workshop & Walk
The morning session held inside the nature center will introduce participants to the ferns of Georgia. We’ll use hand lenses, microscopes and live specimens to examine frond, sori and spore characteristics. The odd vocabulary of ferns will be covered. The indoor session will last until ~1:00pm. Bring your hand lens and favorite fern guides if you have them available. There will also be a review of fern resources.

We’ll take about an hour for lunch on your own (there are picnic tables at the nature center or a few restaurants in Lithonia if you want to venture off-site.

Following lunch (weather permitting) we will go for an easy walk from the nature center on the Forest Trail/Mile Rock Trails (approximately 2 miles) and to apply the knowledge gained at the workshop to what we see in the field. Likely finds will be Athyrium, Asplenium, Dryopteris, Marsilea, Phegopteris, Pleopeltis, Polystichum, Thelypteris, and more!

Directions:  Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is located at 3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038, southeast of Atlanta and just a few miles south of I-20. http://arabiaalliance.org/explore/maps/

Bring: If you have these items, please bring: hand lens, measuring tool, fine tweezers, and fern field guides of your choosing.

Facilities: On site

Lunch: on your own or at picnic grounds on-site

Leader: Teri Nye – 404-664-8224 or tnye@terinye.com

 

 

July 2~9, 2016, Medicine Bow National Forest and Snowy Range of Southern Wyoming

Posted under: Out-of State.

Spectacular Wyoming Scenery

Spectacular Wyoming Scenery

2016 Wyoming Romp 


Leader:
Rich Reaves

Dodecatheon pulchellum

Shooting Star, Dodecatheon pulchellum

Mariposa Lily, Calochortus gunnisonii

Mariposa Lily, Calochortus gunnisonii

It is time for our next “Out of Georgia” excursion for BotSoc. A fairly sizeable group of BotSoccers chose to come along for the late-winter trips to the Everglades in 2012 and to the Sonoran Desert in 2014. Our next adventure will be the week of July 2, 2016 – a summer trip. Obviously, to somewhere the weather likely will be in our favor (not too hot and not too wet). I have selected my favorite place to visit – the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Snowy Range of southern Wyoming. The 4th of July is the Monday of the week we will be in Wyoming (start on July 2 and depart on July 9.

What we see will depend on how and when spring arrives, but a partial list of what we can expect to see includes several (at least 5) species of paintbrushes, a couple of bitterroots, multiple larkspur species, both Gunnison’s and Nuttall’s Mariposa lily, Colorado columbine (many colors), glacier lily, monument plant, elephant head, several penstemons, western fringed gentian, shooting stars, and of course many composites. Depending on the timing of the snowmelt, coral roots and fairy slipper orchids are possible. The hikes will be at various elevations, generally between 8,500 and 11,500 feet through amazing scenery and we almost certainly will encounter snow on some trails.

If you are interested in this visit to my “happy place” and have not yet gotten on board, let me know (rich.reaves@att.net).

September 24, 2016, 9:30 AM (Note early time), Roadside Botanizing: Cohutta Mountains, Gilmer & Fanin Counties

Posted under: North Georgia.

026

Grass-of-Parnassus, Parnassia asarifolia

Meet:   9:30 am at the Pinhoti Trail Parking Area on FS90

Description: We will drive along the Forest Service roads stopping to look at flowers along the way.  There will be several short excursions form the cars, always along the road. We can expect to find several forget-me-nots (Impatiens capensis and I. pallida), grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia asarifolia), gentians (Gentianella quinquefolia and Gentiana decora), several composites, and likely a few other early fall species. Plus we may catch several typical spring plants in fruit such as Jack-in-the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) and speckled wood lily (Clintonia umbellulata).

Directions: Take I-575/ GA 515 north to East Ellijay to turn left on GA 52. At ~5 mi west of the square on GA 52, turn right on Gates Chapel Rd. When pavement ends the road will fork, take Wilderness Trail/ FR 90 (dirt road to the right). At ~0.9 mi do not turn left at WMA sign for Pinhoti Trail. Continue 0.1 mi to Pinhoti Trail Parking on right on FS90.Carpooling is encouraged to

Gentianella quinquefolia,

Stiff Gentian, Gentianella quinquefolia,

minimize our parking footprint on the narrow unpaved roads.

Walking: Easy, probably all within 500 feet of cars.

Facilities: Only what nature provides.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.

Leader:  Rich Reaves, 770‑827‑5186, rich.reaves@att.net

Sunday, September 25, 2016, Tallassee Forest, Athens-Clarke County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Sunday,  September 25, 2016, 10:00am-2:00pm ,Tallassee Forest, Athens-Clarke County

Field Trip Leaders: Karen Porter and Linda Chafin

Description
: We will visit Tallassee Forest, a 310-acre tract of land on the Middle Oconee River in northwest Athens-Clarke County. Large size, high environmental quality, and relatively little recent disturbance allow it support a diversity of native plants, wildlife, and eight of Georgia DNR’s high priority habitats: mature oak-hickory-pine forest, mesic hardwood forest, freshwater marsh, bottomland forest, canebrakes, springs and spring runs, small streams, and a medium-sized river. Of special interest is an unusual upland American holly (Ilex opaca) forest and a bottomland forest with canebrakes and minimal invasives. The utility easements are covered with diverse fall wildflowers and grasses.

Location & Directions: Tallassee Forest is off Tallassee Road in northwest Athens-Clarke County–we will meet at a nearby school and carpool from there to the Forest. From Atlanta, take I-85 north to Exit 137 – Jefferson/US Hwy 129. Drive south on US 129 for about 20 miles. Just outside Athens, turn right onto GA Hwy 10/Loop 10 South (aka “the bypass”) and drive SW about 1 mile to Exit 15 (Tallassee Rd-Oglethorpe Avenue). Turn right/west onto Tallassee Road. Proceed 4.3 miles and turn right into the  Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School parking lot. Park in the school lot. We will carpool from there to the Forest.

Meet:
  10:00 am at the parking lot of Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, 1600 Tallassee Road.

Bathroom facilities: 
none

Walking Difficulty:
 Moderate. We will be walking on old roads and utility easements.  Plan for at least 3½ hours of slow walking.

Bring: 
Lunch, snacks, and waterDress for the weather, it will probably be hot in September, and wear sturdy walking shoes or boots. You may also want to bring binoculars, hand lens, and cameras.

Contact: 
Linda Chafin lchafin@uga.edu or Karen Porter at karengporter@gmail.com.