May 24, 2014, 9:30 am Arkaquah Trail on Brasstown Mountain, Union County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet: 9:30 am - NOTE EARLY TIME!  Meet in the parking lot on top of Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain. 

Description: We’ll hike through a wide range of plant communities from GA’s highest elevation down to the ultramafic area at Track Rock Gap. We should see plenty of Vasey’s trillium (Trillium vaseyi), and a few pink lady’s slipper (Cypripedium acaule), as well as Cumberland rhododendron (Rhododendron bakeri). When we hiked this trail during last year’s pilgrimage in early May, we had six species of trilliums!  One particular outcrop is a consistent spot to find flowering rock harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens). At lower elevations, we should find the tall flowering stalks of American columbo (Frasera caroliniensis).  Energy permitting, we’ll look at the petrogylphs at Trackrock Gap, where the hike ends.

Directions: Take US 19 south from Blairsville for 8 miles, then turn left onto GA 180 for another 8 miles. At the sign for Brasstown Bald, turn left onto GA 180 Spur and follow it up to the parking area. We’ll meet toward the back of the parking lot.  From the south, take GA 60/US 19 north from Dahlonega.  Eventually US19 veers to the right at Stonepile Gap, stay on US 19 headed north.  You’ll turn left at Turner’s Corner as you cross the Chestatee River, and eventually cross Neel’s Gap.  After passing Vogel State Park, start looking for GA 180 to the right.  The road to Brasstown Bald, GA 180 Spur, will be 8 miles on the left.

Parking: Brasstown Bald is a National Forest Recreation Area, so a parking fee is required. Please pay at the entrance booth. Parking is extremely limited at Track Rock Gap, so we will shuttle a few vehicles and leave them there.

Facilities: At meeting place only, strategically placed trees on hike.

Walking: The Arkaquah Trail is very strenuous. This hike is mostly downhill, with a couple of short, rough, uphill stretches toward the bottom. The 5.4 mile long trail descends 2,504 feet, sometimes quite steeply.  This is a rocky, high mountain trail that is not suitable for persons with physical impairments.

Lunch:  Bring to eat at some place along the trail that will be so lovely your heart will ache at the prospect of leaving again.

Leader:  Hal Massie 47478-957-6095,



May 24, 2014, Wild Edibles Workshop and Walk, CRNRA Environmental Education Center, Fulton County, 09:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Posted under: Atlanta area; Workshops.

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.

Meet: 09:00 a.m.

Location:  Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center,  8615 Barnwell Road, Johns Creek, Georgia 30022. 678-538-1200. For directions see:

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:  770-845-7997 or 770-206-0338 (cell) or 678-538-1245 (office); OR  <>  or <>

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Limit 30 persons. Reservations are required:  contact Jerry at <> or 770-845-7997

May 25, 2014, Roadside Botanizing, Cohutta Mountains, Gilmer & Fanin Counties

Posted under: North Georgia; Roadside Botanizing.

 Meet: 9:30 AM (Note early time), Pinhoti Trail Parking Area on FS 90 Fire Pink, Silene virginica

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. The last couple of years the Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) has been very nice.

Directions: Take I-575/ GA 515 north to East Ellijay to turn onto GA 52 west and go through Ellijay. About 5 miles west of the Ellijay Square on GA 52, turn right on Gates Chapel Rd. When pavement ends at a fork, take Wilderness Trail/ FR 90 (the right fork – almost straight ahead). The meeting location is approximately 1 mile in on FR 90, the Indian Pink, Spigelia marilandicaright side of the road. 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.

Trip Leader: Rich Reaves,

Photos by Rich & Anita Reaves

Monday, May 26, 2014 (Memorial Day): Green Pitcher Plants, Reed Branch Preserve (Nature Conservancy) , Towns County

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet: 10:00 AM at the parking area. Sarracenia oreophila

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. During this spring visit, we should see the pitcher plant in bloom, along with other early spring species.  The bog was burned in October 2013, so we will get a first hand look at the response to fire in this fire-maintained system.

Sarracenia oreophilaDirections: Take US 76 to Hiawassee. In Hiawassee, turn north on GA 75 and go approximately 3 miles to Mull Rd., which will be on the left. Almost immediately after turning left onto Mull Road, there will be a parking area on the left just behind a gate.

Facilities: There are no facilities at the Reed Branch preserve. There are plenty of fast food restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores in nearby Hiawassee.

Walking: This will be a very easy walk.

Lunch: Bring to eat at the vehicles.

Bring: Camera, hat (no shade), hand lens

Leader: Hal Massie 47478-957-6095,

Photos by Hal Massie


May 31, 2014, Palisades Canoe Float & Spring Flora, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area; Canoe Trips.

Times: 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  678-538-1200


Sunday, June 1, 2014 10:00 am, Slaughter Mountain

Posted under: North Georgia.

Field Trip Leader:  Tom Govus

Trip Limit: 12 people.

 Description:  We will make a one way loop from Lake Winfield Scott over the summit of Slaughter Mountain and, via the Duncan Ridge Trail, continue on to Wolfpen Gap. Like nearby Blood Mtn, Slaughter is a high elevation rocky summit (4,338 ft) with many notable species. Plants that we hope to encounter include Sibbaldiopsis tridentata (three-toothed cinquefoil), Paronychia argyrocoma (silverling) – both characteristic species of Appalachian mountain summits. We also hope to see Sorbus americana (mountain-ash) and high elevation red oak communities as well as small rock outcrops. This is an exploratory hike, all of these species are reported for the area, but their exact location is not known. We will undoubtedly encounter many more interesting species and see outstanding landscapes.

Meet At:  The parking area for the Duncan Ridge Trail at Wolfpen Gap (see above).

Location & Directions:  We will meet at Wolfpen Gap and leave enough vehicles to ferry drivers back to their cars at Lake Winfield Scott, where we will begin the hike. This gap is located on GA Hwy 180 about 3.4 mi W of junc with US 19 (near Vogel State Park and Sosebee Cove), or about 8 miles E of the junc of GA 180 with GA 60 in Suches. There is a parking area for the Duncan Ridge Trail at the top of the Gap on the N side of GA 180.

Bathroom Facilities: at Lake Winfield Scott.

Walking Difficulty: This hike is moderately strenuous, about 4.5 mi long with an elevational climb of over 1,500 ft.  

Bring: Lunch, snacks, & water.  Remember to dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes. You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera. 

Contact: Tom Govus –, (H) 706-276-3360 (C) 706-669-1491

Sunday, June 8, 2014, Chickamauga Cedar Glades, Chickamauga National Battlefield Park, Catoosa County.

Posted under: North Georgia.

Meet:  10:00 am in park office. Chickamauga Cedar Glade 6

Description:  This is our second field trip this spring to Chickamauga National Battlefield Park, one of the nation’s largest and best preserved Civil War sites, and also home to Cedar Glades, one of Georgia’s rarest habitats.  In the glades, the thin layer of soil covering a limestone bedrock restricts trees to red cedars growing at the edge of the glades and in cracks between the rocks. The wildflowers include some found nowhere else in Georgia.  Those we will see should be completely different than what we saw just two months ago.  They include: Gattinger’s Prairie Clover, Dalea gattingeri; Downy Wood Mint,  Blephilia ciliata, White-leaf Leatherflower, Clematis glaucophylla, Glade St Johnswort , Hypericum dolabriforme, Carolina Buckthorn, Frangulum carolinianum, and Marbleseed, Onosmodium molle.

Directions:  From Interstate 75 in northwest Georgia:  At Exit 350, take Battlefield Parkway (Georgia Hy 2) west Chickamauga Cedar Gladesfor 7 miles to Fort Oglethorpe. Turn left at the intersection with  Lafayette Road (US Hy 27 south).  Go one mile south on Lafayette Road to the park entrance and visitor center on the right.  Note: although there is construction occurring on the outside of the park office building, the office, facilities and parking lots are open as usual.

GPS address: 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

Facilities:  In park office.

Bring:  Lunch to eat at a picnic area in the park. Pick up a copy of the excellent park trail map in the office, if desired. Chickamauga Cedar Glades

Trip Leader:  Mike Christison, 770-973-6482, mikepaddler@aol.comCo-Leader:  Richard Ware, 706-232-3435,

Cell phones for day of field trip:  Mike: 770-596-3564, Richard

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