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Foggy Camp Creek
Lens: DA 21, DA 35 macro, FA 50 macro Camera: K20D Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 05-15-2014, 07:32 PM

Enjoyed a recent hike up above Camp Creek in nearby Greene County. It's a great ridgeline hike, perhaps 5 or so miles, with several fine overlooks to watch the sunrise across the valleys. It's also home to many unique plants. Thick fog kept us from enjoying the sunrise, but made for perfect plant watching.

Here's the "view" from Whiterock Cliffs.

Mayapples here were not yet in bloom, but sure were abundant.

This is a perfect spot for many trillium species. Most abundant was my favorite - the painted trillium (Trillium undulatum). Many of these were right along the trail (Appalachian Trail) - which prompted many interesting questions from the abundant through-hikers!

Painted trillium was thriving in the higher, more exposed locations. Red trillium (Trillium erectum) was also abundant up high, but in more protected locations.

There's a pale-flowered variety of red trillium too - same species, just a color variation.

There were still several Trout Lilies and Wood Anemones in bloom up in the high meadows (those in the valleys have been done blooming for several weeks already)

And this little Vernal Iris (Iris verna) was decorating a tiny crevice up high on Blackstack cliffs. This small native iris seems to favor drier and rockier locations than most other native irises.

Speaking of high and dry, Lousewort also thrives in high, dry meadows and woodlands. That strange name is because of the belief that it could repel lice!

And here's another high elevation plant with an odd name. It's a lovely little native viburnum called Witch Hobble (Viburnum lantanoides)! Now, I'm no witch, but it would indeed hobble me to try to run through a Witch Hobble thicket - because the branches bend, touch the ground and sprout more roots. This makes for a thicket of tripping hazards!

The other goal of this hike was to check on a rare plant population. Rock Harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens) is an endangered species here in Tennessee - confined to a few very high and rocky places. There's a thriving population at one location on this hike, with many dozens of plants that have a long blooming (and seed-setting) season. This time, they were not quite fully in bloom yet.

Return hike was quick and uneventful, full of fine foggy views. Hope you enjoyed the trip, and that you'll share your comments & critique!

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05-15-2014, 07:58 PM   #2
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thanks again Ranger for taking us along with you on the hike. So many varieties of flowers there and what really makes it interesting is your explanation of each. Love the contrast between the fog and the flowers, wonderful thread to view.
05-15-2014, 08:01 PM   #3
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Very nice set of photos !
05-16-2014, 06:32 AM   #4

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Great sets, as always...of all of them, though, the Vernal Iris really tickled me, though--up till now, my bloom hunting has been secondary to my trout fishing, so while I've waded through my share of Dwarf Crested Irises in the Deep Creek area of the GSMNP, I don't think I've ever come across a stand of Vernal Iris up high.

05-16-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Bob - Glad you enjoyed the hike! We are blessed with many foggy damp days here in East Tennessee - great fun for hiking as well as "shutterbugging"

Michael - Thanks so much!

CreationBear - You are so right - D.C. Iris (Iris cristata) prefers the lower, damper places, while Iris verna loves the high, drier ridges. Looking at the UT Herbarium website, it should be in the Smokies. I see it most often on high sunny ridges in Greene and Unicoi counties. Here's a link in case you want to check out the map (also two more of my photos): University of Tennessee :: Herbarium - TENN
05-16-2014, 05:15 PM   #6

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QuoteOriginally posted by mole Quote
Here's a link in case you want to check out the map

Excellent, a few years ago I took a couple of those guys out to lunch to pick their brains about forest succession in the old orchards on the northeast side of the Park--though of course with the last "lady slipper" thread, the orchid loonies might be treating y'all like five star football recruits...
05-16-2014, 07:00 PM   #7
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wow, what a series, enjoyed flowers & the photography

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