October 4, 2014 Early Fall Wildflowers of North Georgia, Union County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Monkshood, Aconitum uncinatum

Monkshood, Aconitum uncinatum

Description: Early fall is a wonderful time to see some of Georgia’s rarest and most colorful wildflowers. This trip will take us to at least three locations in the north central part of the state, including areas near Young Harris and Suches.  Plants we hope to see in bloom include 3 Gentians:  the beautiful and rare Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita), Stiff Gentian (Gentianella Fringed Gentian, Gentianopsis crinitaquinquefolia), and Soapwort Gentian (Gentiana saponaria).  Also, two species of Parnassia: Kidney-Leaf Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia asarifolia), and the rare and ornately veined Large-Leaf Grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia).  In addition: two aptly named plants: Monkshood (Aconitum uncinatum), and White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra).  We also hope to see White Goldenrod (Solidago bicolor), and perhaps a couple species of Ladies’Tresses (Spiranthes sp.).

White Turtlehead, Chelone glabra

Meet:  10:00 am at the Chevron station near the intersection of US 76 and Track Rock Gap Rd between Blairsville and Young Harris, GA.

Directions:  I-75 to I-575 north to GA 5/515 to Blue Ridge, GA, then east on US 76/ GA 515 to Blairsville.  From the intersection of US 76 and US 19/129 in Blairsville, continue heading east on HY 76/515  toward Clayton, GA for about 6.4 miles. Meet at the Chevron Station on the left. If you come to Track Rock Gap Rd (or to Young Harris), you have come too far.

Bring:  Lunch to eat on the house porch of Gene and Joyce Hall near Young Harris.

Grass of Parnassus, Wild Hog Creek

Grass of Parnassus, Wild Hog Creek

Facilities:  At meeting site.

Walking:  Easy, near cars, with a short bushwhack walk near the monkshood site.

Trip Leaders:  Mike Christison, mikepaddler@aol.com, 770-973-6482 (H), 770-596-3564 (Cell phone for day of trip), and Richard & Teresa Ware, gabotany@comcast.net, 706-232-3435 (H), 706-766-5143 (Cell phone for day of trip).

Monday, October 13, 2014 10:00 AM, Black Creek Wildlife Management Area, Taylor County

Posted under: South Georgia.

Elegant Blazing Star, Liatris elegans

Elegant Blazing Star, Liatris elegans

Trip Leader: Hal Massie

Description: Black Creek WMA (formerly Black Creek Natural Area) is in the sandhills of West Central Georgia. Fall is the best wildflower season in the sandhills and many unique species, especially members of the aster family, should be in flower. Black Creek Natural Area is managed with prescribed fire and we will be able to see the impact of recent fires on sandhill plants. Target species will include sandhills golden-aster (Pityopsis pinifolia), and Pickering’s dawnflower (Stylisma pickeringii var. pickeringii), both protected plants. We should also find sandhill specialties like Michaux’s Whitlow-wort (Paronychia herniarioides), elegant blazing-star (Liatris elegans), and lopsided Indiangrass (Sorghastrum secundum). If we have time and a couple of 4-wheel drive vehicles, we’ll enter the edge of a large bog containing many sweet pitcher plants (Sarracenia rubra) as well as one of the rarest plants in Georgia, tawny cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum).

Directions: Take US 19 south to Butler. Pass through the town on US 19 to the light at the intersection of US 19 and GA 96. Turn right onto GA 96 and go approximately 7 miles. You will pass Culverhouse Rd. and Grace Mill Rd. The next three roads to the right (Brown, Watson, and the other end of Brown) all lead to the small village of Howard. If you are coming from the south, take US 19 north to the intersection with GA 96 and turn left and then use the directions above.

Pineleaf or sandhill goldenaster, Pityopsis pinifolia

Pineleaf or sandhill goldenaster, Pityopsis pinifolia

Meet At: We will meet across the road from the post office in Howard, then carpool to Black Creek WMA. Black Creek WMA has limited parking and deep sand roads. We will carpool from Howard using the vehicles with highest clearance.

Facilities: None.

Walking: We’ll be walking on old sand logging roads. Walking will be fairly easy, but the sand will be deep at times and it could be hot. We may walk into the edge of a bog, which will be mucky. Total walking for the day shouldn’t exceed 2 miles, less if we have the proper vehicles.

Bring: Hat, bug spray, hand lens, water and food. A little bit of curiosity and good humor won’t hurt. Bring a lunch – we’ll try to eat near the vehicles, but be prepared to carry your food. A picnic blanket or some other cover to sit on is recommended.
Leader: Hal Massie
478-957-6095 (cell, will be on the morning of the hike)

Photos by Hal Massie


October 18, 2014, Panther Creek, Habersham County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Field Trip Leader: Ben Cash

Description: Starting on a dry ridge with table mountain pine, mountain laurel, dwarf rhododendron and bigleaf storax, we’ll descend into the rugged and scenic corridor carved by Panther Creek.  We’ll follow the creek upstream to the pool below Panther Creek Falls and return by the same route. We’ll eat lunch by the water. Plant diversity increases nearer to the water with yellow buckeye, black birch and magnolias appearing. Virginia willow, silky cornel, hazel alder, yellowroot and ferns flourish. We may see log fern, Blue Ridge bittercress and brook saxifrage.

Location & Directions: Traveling north on US 23 / US 441 in Habersham County, go through the intersection with GA 17 Alternate at the traffic signal in Hollywood then take the next right onto John Wood Rd. which ends at an intersection after appro 1.5 mi. Continue straight ahead onto unpaved Camp Yonah Rd. and follow it about 3 mi to the east end. We have permission to park and walk across private property to reach Panther Creek within the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Meet:  10:00 am at East end of Camp Yonah Rd.

Bathroom Facilities: No. But two filling stations / convenience stores, two locally owned restaurants and a franchised sandwich shop are on GA 17 Alternate in Hollywood.

Walking Difficulty:  Total distance, in and back, is about 3 mi. The first portion of the walk is easy but the Forest Service hiking trail along Panther Creek is often rocky, overgrown and treacherous.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water. Remember to dress for the weather & wear comfortable hiking shoes. Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature & your activity level. You may wish to bring hiking poles, binoculars, hand lens, notebook, & camera.

Contact: Ben Cash (706) 778-5155, bencash@hemc.net, (706) 968-3841 cell, day of hike although service may not be available.