April 18, 2015, Piedmont Wildflowers, Oconee National Forest, Greene County

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Meet:    10:00 am

Field Trip Leader:  Debbie Gosgrove

Description:  This 1.5 mile trail in the Oconee forest is a bottomland trail and is mainly flat until a moderate hill at the end. We plan to park at least one vehicle at the end of the trail to take people back to their cars.  It has been several years since I have surveyed the trail, but I remember at least 10-15 native wildflowers including two species of Trillium. This will be a fun trip for those that want to explore a new area near Athens. This trail is currently part of a horse trail so I don’t know how horses have impacted the flora. I know the latter part of the trail has a few Dolls’ eyes or white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) and Hepatica. Some of the trail goes beside Falling Creek.

Location & Directions:  From Athens, drive to Watkinsville and take highway 15 towards Greensboro for around 17 miles. Cross the Oconee River and go to the second road on the left, Macedonia. Travel 2.5 miles to the gravel road FS 1234 on left. You should see a sign to Scull Shoals. We will meet at this junction at 10:00 am. If traveling from Greensboro you will take highway 15 towards Athens. Macedonia Rd. will be on the right after 12 miles.

Meet At:  At the sign for FS 1234 where it intersects Macedonia Rd.

Bathroom Facilities: None, but there is a restroom at Hwy 15 at the camping area which is the 1st road after crossing the Oconee River (coming from Athens).

Walking Difficulty: Trail-easy to moderate (the latter towards the end) but it could be muddy.

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

Contact: Debbie Cosgrove – 706-742-7331 – cell-706-338-4964


April 25, 2015, Stroud Creek, Mountain Cove, Towns County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Field Trip Leader:  Ben Cash

Description:  We’ll follow a steep abandoned roadbed up a north-facing cove to an elevation of about 3,400 feet.  Expect to see yellowwood, abundant leatherwood and large black birch, northern red oak, American beech, yellow buckeye, black walnut and sugar maple.  While admiring the trees we’ll try to avoid stepping on Actaeas, Cardamines, Dicentras, Prosartes, Stellarias, Trilliums and Violas.  Expect to step on a few Erythronium americanum at the least and maybe some Galearis spectabilis or Claytonia caroliniana without ever realizing it.

Location & Directions:  Stroud Creek is within the Chattahoochee National Forest, Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area, Towns County and the Kelly Ridge Inventoried Roadless Area and appears on the Macedonia, GA – NC USGS Quadrangle.

Meet:  10:00 am in SE corner of Ingles parking lot in Hiawassee on the north side of US Hwy 76 / GA Hwy 75.  From there we’ll carpool for the 5 mile drive to the site where parking is very limited.

Bathroom Facilities:  None outside of Hiawassee.

Walking Difficulty:  Total distance, up the creek and back, is less than 3 mi.  Moderately difficult due to approximately 1,000 feet of elevation change and stream crossings.  The water is less than knee-deep and always clean.

Bring: Snacks, water & lunch to eat beside a beautiful mountain stream.  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.

Sunday, April 26, 2015, Spring Flora, Ferns, and Fun, East Palisades, CRNRA, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

East Palisades, Indian Ridge to Cabin Creek Loop Trail

Spring Flora, Ferns, and Fun

Sunday; April 26, 2015

10:00 am to 3:30 pm

Description: Join the Georgia Botanical Society and National Park Service Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a look at this beautiful area in late summer’s glory and the sunset from Overlook Ridge where you will enjoy the grand view above Devil’s Race Course Shoals of this very scenic section of river.  We will take Cabin Creek Trail through a beautiful forest in its along Cabin Creek and hike up the ridge past Civil War gun emplacements .  We will travel above rock cliffs, through mature oak-hickory forest, mesic ravine forest, and floodplain forest. Our hike will take us over and past extraordinary rock outcrops and formations influenced by the Brevard Fault, which runs through the Unit.  We will see spring wildflowers, ferns, and perhaps a salamander or two.

Location:  Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, East Palisades Unit; meet in the Indian Trail parking area and trail head; 1425 Indian Trail NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30327 at the bulletin board.  Go south on Northside Drive and Indian Trail is the fourth street on the right.  Indian Trail goes directly into the park.

Facilities:  None

Difficulty:  Moderately strenuous.  There are several steep ascents and descents.

Bring: Remember to dress for the weather and wear very comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  Carry water. You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.  Note: A $3. daily entrance fee or $25. annual pass is required.

Limit:  30 persons

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower.  Reservations are required.  Reservations and directions: 678-538-1200






May 2, 2015, Duncan Ridge Wildflowers, Union Co, GA

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet:   10:00 am

Field Trip Leader:  Tom Govus

Description:  We will explore a series of north aspect rich mesic coves on the central portion of Duncan ridge just east of Mulky Gap. Several species of trillium and yellow ladies slipper are known from this site – but an extensive botanical assessment of the old forests here (over 100 years of age) has not been made. We can expect an array of Blue Ridge Spring ephemerals and hope to find some rare and showy species. There is a rich boulderfield forest (not yellow birch) at the end of our hike and we may explore the periphery as safely as we can.

Limit: 12 people.

Location & Directions:  We will meet at the Park & Ride on the west side of Blairsville adjacent 515. This parking area is one block west of the last traffic light on 515 where US 19 heads north to Murphy, NC. Go one block west of traffic light and turn onto old US 76 (Blue Ridge Hwy) and the parking area is on your immediate left. From here we will leave some vehicles and carpool to Mulky Gap (about 9.5) mi

Bathroom Facilities: There is a McDonalds adjacent the Park & Ride.

Walking Difficulty: This hike is easy to moderate, we will follow an old woods road from Mulkey Gap and walk about 3 miles (or slightly more) round trip.

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

Contact:  To pre-register, contact: Tom Govus – tgovus@ellijay.com; (cell) 706-669-1491; (home) 706-276-3360.

May 2, 2015, Wild Edibles Workshop & Wild Edibles Walk, 9:00 (Note early time) Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center, Fulton Co

Posted under: Workshops.

Wild Edibles Workshop & Wild Edibles Walk

Saturday, May 2, 2015

09:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Note early time!

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower 

Description:  Join us for breakfast on the upper deck of the lodge at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center.  Hot coffee, tea, cereal, muffins, and baked eggs will be offered followed by a brief slide program and discussion of wild edibles found in the Chattahoochee River corridor of Georgia’s piedmont and mountains. We will closely examine some edibles, followed by a bring-your-own lunch. After lunch, we will leisurely walk the grounds of the Lodge and Lutra Loop Trail seeking wild edibles.

Location:  Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center,  8615 Barnwell Road, Johns Creek, Georgia 30022. 678-538-1200. For directions see:  http://www.nps.gov/chat/index.htm

Facilities:  Restrooms are located in the Lodge.

Difficulty:  Leisurely walk of less than two miles.

Bring:  Please bring your own lunch to enjoy on the upper deck with its views of River Glen Pond and the Choestoe Meadow.  Sunscreen, a hat, and water are recommended as well as  camera, binoculars, guide books, hand lens, notebook, and pen. 

Contact:  Jerry Hightower:  770-206-0338 (cell) or 678-538-1245 (office); OR  <jerry_hightower@nps.gov>  or <jerryhightower@hotmail.com>

IMPORTANT:  Limit 30 persons. Reservations are required:  contact Jerry at <jerryhightower@hotmail.com> or 770-206-0338.





May 16, 2015, Rivercane Propagation/Restoration & Conservation Ecology, Athens/Clarke County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Saturday, May 16, 2015   10:00 am

Field Trip Leader:  Thomas Peters

Description:  Less than three miles from the heart of downtown Athens lies a fifty acre tract in perpetual conservation with the Athens Land Trust. The forest and trails around Lexington Lake include old growth hardwoods, native wildflowers and pristine wetlands. The site also serves as a “basecamp” for canebrake ecosystem research and propagation. Conservation ecologist, Thomas Peters, is growing large numbers of rivercane and actively restoring floodplain ecosystems onsite. Some of his other projects include work at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and Cowpens National Battlefield. Come see this beautiful location and learn about the innovative horticultural practices employed in growing our unique and mysterious native bamboo.

Location & Directions:  397 Old Epps Bridge Rd, Athens, Ga, 30606. Coming from Hwy 316 turn right on red light at Old Epps Bridge Rd/Abbey West. Take second right into River Station Townhomes and continue through gate marked private rd. Lake will be on right approaching gate. Park at end of driveway. Blue Ranch Style house with gardens and rabbit hutches.

Meet At:  397 Old Epps Bridge Rd

Bathroom Facilities: in house

Walking Difficulty:  easy

Bring: Clothing appropriate for weather

Contact:  Thomas Peters; trpeters@uga.edu  706-207-6913


May 23, 2015, at 9:30 am Forest Service Roadside Botanizing in the Cohutta Mountains, Gilmer & Fannin Counties

Posted under: North Georgia.


Pedicularis canadensis

Trip Leader: Rich Reaves

Trillium luteum

Trillium luteum

Meet: Saturday, May 23 at 9:30 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) is spectacular.

Spigelia marilandica

Spigelia marilandica

Directions: Take I-575/ GA 515 north to East Ellijay to turn left on GA 52 west. At approximately 5 miles west of the square on GA 52, turn right on Gates Chapel Road. When pavement ends, take the right fork (Wilderness Trail/ FR 90 – which is almost straight ahead); Gates Chapel continues as the left fork and you do not want to continue on that. At approximately 0.9 mile, continue straight on FR 90 (DO NOT turn left at WMA sign for Pinhoti Trail) and continue another 0.1 mile to Pinhoti Trail Parking on right side of FR 90(really just a wide turn out at a gated service road).

Convallaria majuscula

Convallaria majuscula

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.

Silene virginica

Silene virginica

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.

Contact: Rich Reaves   rich.reaves@ att.net    770-827-5186 – cell but may not have service at trailhead

All photos by Anita & Richard Reaves


June 13, 2015, Lula Falls and Cloudland Canyon SP, Dade & Walker Counties

Posted under: Northwest Georgia.

Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum

Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum

Meet:  10:00 am, at parking area for Ascalon Trail Head, Lula Lake Land Trust on Lookout Mountain  

Description: We will, for the first time since 2006, be able to visit the rare river-scour community found at Lula Lake Land Trust on the Cumberland Plateau in extreme northwest Ga. This is the preferred habitat for the rare Virginia Meadowsweet (Spiraea virginiana). Also at Lula we hope to see Mountain Camellia (Stewartia ovata), Menges’ Fameflower (Talinum mengesii), two species of Azaleas (Rhododendron cumberlandense & R. arborescens) and many others. Then we will visit Ascalon Wet Meadow, a Ga. 189 roadside and Cloudland Canyon for another spectacular rarity Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum). We may visit a powerline right-of-way for wildflowers and the lower section of the canyon for more Mountain Camellia.

Stewartia ovata

Mountain Camellia, Stewartia ovata

Directions: From I-75 (exit 320) at Resaca, Ga. (next exit north of Calhoun exits), go west on Ga. 136. You will make 3 turns to stay on Ga. 136. At LaFayette turn right to follow Ga. 136 (and US 27). Turn right to exit bypass and then shortly turn left to follow Ga. 136. At the top of Lookout Mtn. turn right onto Ga. 157. Travel approx. 3.7 mi., then turn left on Ascalon Road (Ascalon Baptist Church on left). Look for gated / freshly graveled parking area on right (Ascalon Trailhead). Meet at back near restrooms.

Facilities: at meeting & lunch sites

Lunch: bring lunch to eat at picnic tables

Spirea virginiana

Virginia Meadowsweet, Spirea virgiana

Walking: Lula: less than 2 mi., some uphill to see Fameflower (if we can’t drive). Cloudland: mostly roadside stops. We will have to wade a creek to see the Spiraea, possibly knee deep, depending on rainfall.

Bring: Lunch, shoes for wading creek, water, bug spray, and $5.00 for parking permit.

Leader(s): Richard Ware (706-232-3435, cell 706-766-5143, gabotany@comcast.net) & Rich Reaves (770-827-5186, rich.reaves@att.net)



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