April 11, 2015, Cloudland Canyon State Park: Mid-Spring Wildflowers

Posted under: Northwest Georgia.

Trip Leader: Rich Reaves

Sitton Gulch Creek

Sitton Gulch Creek

Meet: Saturday, April 11 at 10:00 am

Description: We will do a walk-through from the top of the Canyon down to Sitton Gulch – including descending the stairs. If you have a car that can easily ferry people, please try and arrive a bit early and we will ferry a few vehicles to the bottom to provide a soft trip back up at the end of the day. We should see sulcate trillium (Trillium sulcatum), sweet little Betsy (Trillium cuneatum), decumbent Trillium (Trillium decumbens), doll’s eyes (Actea pachypoda), deciduous magnolias, azaleas, wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), larkspur (Delphinium tricorne), 6 – 10 species of violets, and more.

Delphinium tricorne

Delphinium tricorne, Photo by Anita & Rich Reaves

Directions: From Atlanta take I-75 to exit 320. Go west on GA 136 through Villanow and Naomi (slight jog to left and then right). At Lafayette, take US 27 bypass around town to the north and follow the signs to stay on 136 the Park’s main entrance.  Turn into the park and proceed to the East Rim Overlook parking area. Meet promptly at the Overlook parking area.

Alternately, you can take interstate to Trenton (I-75 north to l-24 West to I59 South) and then follow 136 from the west side back to the park.

Walking: Moderate, primarily due to the rocky and uneven footing, Moderate, but a lot of steps (575) on a maintained trail with stairs (we hope to only go down the stairs). Sturdy shoes with good tread are recommended as there will be rocky, uneven ground, one small stream to rock-hop or wade, and other parts of the walk that usually are wet and sloppy. We hope to go down the stairs only and shuttle cars back to the top.  You should only have to go back up the stairs if you want to.

Trillium sulcatum

Trillium sulcatum, Photo by Anita & Rich Reaves

Facilities: None at meeting site – facilities at the top of the canyon at the visitor center and at the overlook or at fast food joints in Trenton.

Bring: Lunch, water, bug spray.  We will eat somewhere down the canyon after we cross the creek.

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

April 11, 2015, Broxton Rocks, Coffee County

Posted under: South Georgia.

Broxton Rocks, Saturday, April 11, 2015   10:00AM

Broxton Rocks Preserve

Broxton Rocks Preserve

Field Trip leader: Frankie Snow

Focus:  Flora of Altamaha Grit

Description: We will visit an unusual sandstone outcrop on Georgia’s coastal plain near Broxton, GA.  Broxton Rocks is a late Miocene rock formation owned by The Nature Conservancy.  It harbors over 560 plant species, many of which are not normally seen on the coastal plain.  Disjunct species, mostly from the piedmont, include: Delphinium carolinianum, Schoenolirion croceum, Packera tomentosum, Minuartia uniflora and Evolvulus sericeus.  Unusual ferns include Vittaria lineata, Trichomanes petersii and Cheilanthes lanosa. Two undescribed species are currently being named from here, an Isoetes and an Oxalis.

Location:  We will meet at the Broxton, GA Post Office at 10:00AM.  From Atlanta go south on I-75. At Macon get on I-16 and go to the US 441 exit at Dublin, GA.  Go south on US 441 to Broxton, GA. The post office is located on GA 268 in Broxton.

Bathroom Facilities: None

Walking Difficulty: Moderate with some uneven rocky slopes.

Bring: Lunch, snacks, insect repellent (just in case) and water.

Contact: Frankie Snow at 912-260-4343 or Frankie.Snow@SGSC.edu

April 12, 2015, Botanical Exploration Trip, The Lillian E. Smith Center, Rabun County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Field Trip Leader:  Timothy Menzel 

Description:  We will explore the grounds of the Lillian E. Smith Center, which includes a minimally traversed 100 acre tract on the west slope of Screamer Mountain in Rabun County. It is a low mountain slope mesic forest with elevations ranging between 2,000 and 2,600 feet. The slope is divided into several low ridges and wet coves which are bound to be rich with plant life, including trillium, orchids and who knows what else! The Center and its properties were recently acquired by Piedmont College, and this trip will be the first spring venture to discover what botanical riches lay in its deep coves. The visit will also include a brief tour of the buildings and lodgings of Lillian Smith, a civil rights activist and highly-acclaimed author of Strange Fruit and Killers of the Dream.

Meet:  10:00 am at the large circular parking area at top of ridge on Hershey Lan

Location & Directions:  The property is located approximately one mile east of Highway 441 off Route 76 in Clayton, Georgia.  From Highway 76 make a left on Old Chechero Road and then a right onto Hershey Lane (there will be signs at both intersections). Follow Hersey Lane as it climbs the ridge to the Center’s main buildings. Be careful, the road gets narrow near the top.

Bathroom Facilities: available

Walking Difficulty: The hike will be short in distance but could be strenuous at times. We will be exploring coves and ridges without the benefit of trails.

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: Tim Menzel at Piedmont College. Cell number is 662-324-9039, email tmenzel@piedmont.edu.


April 18, 2015, Ebenezer Creek Canoe Trip, Effingham County

Posted under: Canoe Trips; East Georgia.

Ebenezer Creek Canoe/Kayak Trip: Natural Communities of Georgia – Featured Place – Cypress-Tupelo River Swamp

Southeast Georgia

Ebenezer Creek

Ebenezer Creek

Trip Leader: Bobby Hattaway

Meet: Saturday, April 18 at 10:00 am

Description: Ebenezer Creek is a small creek in Effingham County that flows into the Savannah River. Its banks and channel can be likened to a cathedral lined with some of the most spectacular giant water tupelos (Nyssa aquatica) and baldcypresses (Taxodium distichum) anywhere. Some of the buttresses run 8-12 feet in diameter at the low water level. We might see Oconee azalea (Rhododendron flammeum) in bloom. Backwater Expeditions will be our canoe livery.  They will also rent canoes and kayaks. Contact Bobby for details (have not gotten a price yet). Plans are for about 10 canoes (slightly more if solo kayaks). So please contact Bobby Hattaway in advance preferably by email.

From Atlanta: Take I-75 South to I-16, E to Exit 143, turn left, E on Hwy 280 for 1.8 mi., then right onto Hwy 80 for 2.5 mi., left on Sandhill Rd. for 1.9 mi., then right on Bluejay Rd for ca. 9.8 mi. till it turns into Blandford Rd, then go 1.8 mi. to Hwy 21 and turn left; go N 3.5 mi. to Ebenezer Rd (GA 275). Turn right (E) & go 2.3 mi. to Long Bridge Rd. (caution light). Turn left & go 1.1 mi. to Long Bridge Landing.

From Savannah: Go north on I-95 to Exit 109, then north on GA-21 for 11.4 miles to N of Rincon, Georgia, then turn right (E) on GA-275 (Ebenezer Rd) & go 2.3 mi. to Long Bridge Rd. (caution light).  Turn left & go 1.1 mi. to Long Bridge Landing.

Lunch: Bring your own and/or snacks.

Canoeing/Kayaking: Easy – between 5-6 miles.

Facilities: At beg./end

Bring: H20, sunscreen, insect repellent, change of clothes, camera?

Leader: Bobby Hattaway  botanikman@g-net.net  Cell 912-481-3011


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 late summer 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

Reservations are required.  Reservations and directions: 678-538-1200






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