May 7, 2016, Woody Gap: Indian paint-brush, Outcrops, and Lady’s Slippers

Posted under: North Georgia.

Saturday,  May 7, 2016   10:00 am 

View from Trail near Woody Gap

View from Trail near Woody Gap

 Limited to 12 people!

 Field Trip Leader:  Hal Massie

 Description:  This trip will start at Woody Gap and follow a little-known trail southeast along Cedar Ridge.  We will first stop to see a huge population of wood betony, Pedicularis canadensis which is usually in full flower in early May.  Afterward, we’ll hike about a quarter mile uphill to a site where you can actually see eastern Indian-paintbrush, Castilleja coccinea, up close and in relative safety.  The same area has a population of small yellow lady’s-slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum.  When we have sated ourselves on bright red and brilliant yellow flowers, we will continue to the top of the ridge to a rock outcrop with magnificent views to the south.  After we return to Woody Gap, we may drive down to the Chestatee Overlook (less than 2 miles south) to look for pink lady’s-slippers. Due to the sensitive nature of the Indian-paintbrush site, only 12 people will be allowed on this walk.  Contact the trip leader directly to sign up.

Location & Directions: Woody Gap is north of Dahlonega in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Take GA 60 (either the Bypass or the

Indian Paint Brush, Castilleja coccinea

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja coccinea

Business route) north from Dahlonega.  US 19 and GA 60 split at Rockpile Gap, take GA 60 to the left.  The parking lot is on the right side just as you crest the ridgeline after a long, winding uphill stretch.  Woody Gap is approximately 14 miles from Dahlonega.

Meet:  10:00 at the Woody Gap parking lot on the north side of GA 60 (the side with the…latrines).

Bathroom Facilities: There is a Forest Service ‘restroom’ with pit toilets at Woody Gap.

Walking Difficulty: This hike is mostly easy with a moderate uphill climb in the beginning. Both the Indian paint-brush and the yellow lady’s-slippers are off-trail and will require walking through some serious poison ivy, as well as uneven rocky ground and deep leaf litter. Total walking will be less than 1.5 miles.

Bring: Dress for the weather.  Bring a lunch to eat at the outcrop.  Bugs should not be a problem.  Those susceptible to poison ivy or particularly beautiful vistas should plan accordingly. Because of the short distances, we will have more time for photography at each site than is typical of mountain trips. Bring a camera.

Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum

Small Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum

Contact:   Hal Massie,  478-957-6095 (cell, will be on the morning of the hike, reception can be iffy)

Photos by Hal Massie


Sunday, May 8, 2016, Lake Winfield Scott Loop: THIS TRIP IS NOW CLOSED

Posted under: North Georgia.

This trip is now full.  Only those already registered with the trip leader will be able to join on this field trip.



Friday, May 13, 2016, Coastal Plains Endemics, Fort Stewart, Liberty County, etc.

Posted under: East Georgia.

Field Trip Leaders:  Larry Carlile and Dee Mincey

Description:  Ft Stewart is a mosaic of many habitats including longleaf pine-wiregrass sandhill, and longleaf, loblolly, and slash pine flatwoods communities. There are hardwood/cypress/gum drains, swamp forest, seeps, bogs, and bottomland. At more than a quarter-million acres, Ft Stewart manages the largest remaining acreage of the longleaf-wiregrass ecosystem in Georgia. We will encounter an abundance of rare, native, and coastal plain endemic species as well as the habitats of silky camellia (Stewartia malacodendron), hooded pitcherplant (Sarracenia minor), shiny coneflower (Rudbeckia nitida), trailing krameria (Krameria lanceolata), fever-tree (Pinckneya bracteata), snowy orchid (Platanthera nivea), dwarf witch-alder (Fothergilla gardenii), and smooth coneflower (Echinacea laevigata).

Meet:  10:00 AM at the unpaved parking area located at the intersection of Hwy 119 and Hwy 144.

Directions:  From I – 16:  Take I-16 to exit 127 GA Hwy 67. Take Hwy 67 south to Pembroke. Stay straight through traffic light – note road number will change to GA Hwy 119. Continue south for 17.5 miles to the intersection of GA Hwy 119/144. From I-95:  Take Exit 90 in Richmond Hill. Go west on GA Hwy 144 for 20 miles to GA Hwy 119. Turn north (right) onto GA Hwy 119 and travel for about 0.5 miles to the intersection of 119/144.

Bathroom Facilities: none

Walking Difficulty:  This hike is easy to moderate.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, and water. Dress appropriately for woods hiking and the weather. Dress for insects and remember insect repellant (the mosquitoes here are unrelenting). Wear comfortable hiking shoes. You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.

Contacts:  Larry Carlile <>      912-767-8241

Dee Mincey  <>       912-531-2124




May 14, 2016, Flint River Canoe Trip and Shoals Spider Lily Walk

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Flint River Canoe Trip & Shoals Spider Lilies Walk

Saturday, May 14, 2016

08:30 am to 4:00 pm

Trip Leader:  Jerry Hightower 404-953-9331

Description:  This beautiful river offers an interesting array of flora due to the Coastal Plain – Piedmont interface.  This float begins at Spruill Bluff and winds along a five mile section ending at the outfitters.  Suitable for beginners, the Flint offers several Class I / II rapids along our route.

LocationWe will meet at the Flint River Outdoor Center 4429 Woodland Road Thomaston, GA 30286 at 8:30 a.m.  There is a small shuttle fee. Bring your own boat or rent canoes and kayaks from the outfitters.  If you would like more information on rentals or to reserve a canoe or kayak please call Flint River Outdoor Center at 706-647-2633. 

Facilities: At the outfitters and Spruill Bluff

Difficulty:  Suitable for beginners with some experience canoeing or kayaking on rivers.

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 770-206-0338 or if you are planning on joining this trip.


Sunday, May 22, 2016, Palisades Canoe Float Spring Flora, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cobb County

Posted under: Canoe Trips; Middle Georgia.

Palisades Canoe Float Spring Flora                             

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Sunday, May 22, 2016

10:00 a.m. ­– 3:00 p.m.     

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower

Description:  Bring your own canoe or kayak and join the Georgia Botanical Society and naturalist Jerry Hightower for a leisurely float on the Chattahoochee River. We will float a three-mile section of the river from Powers Island to Paces Mill at US Hwy 41, exploring plants, geology, and wildlife, including an extraordinary array of late spring wildflowers. There are three mild Class 1.5 rapids suitable for beginners along this part of the river. The Palisades have narrow floodplains and steep ridges rising to over 1,000 feet. The area offers a great diversity of habitats and includes oak-hickory forest, steep north-facing slopes, mesic ravine forest, and floodplain forest. Created by the geologic action of the Brevard Fault, the river, and the effects of weather, this is a rugged and beautiful section of the river. We will stop at Devil’s Stair Step Beach (Diving Rock) for lunch and a short loop walk. 

Location: Meet at Powers Island, 5862 Interstate North Pkwy., Sandy Springs, Georgia at 10:00 a.m. to unload equipment.  We will then take the majority of the vehicles to Paces Mill and shuttle the drivers back to Powers Island.  Please let Jerry know if you have a multi-passenger vehicle and could help with the shuttle.

Bring:  Lunch, sunscreen, hat, rain gear, and water.  Camera, binoculars, and hand lens are recommended. Bring a day pack or other bag to secure items inside your boat. $3.00 daily parking pass or annual parking pass needed.

Directions:  See or call 678-538-1200.

Bathroom Facilities:  At Powers Island, our lunch stop, and at Paces Mill.

Fees: $3 parking fee at the Recreation Area unless you have an annual pass.

Reservations are required: Contact Jerry Hightower at <   or  770-206-0338


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 avNailable.


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,


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,

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,  478-957-6095 (cell will be on the morning of the hike,  Rich Reaves,


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,, 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 if you are planning on joining this trip.