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Rocky Fork Perimeter Hike
Lens: A 35-105 Camera: K 5 Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 07-17-2016, 08:00 PM

Had a bit of spare time recently to hike the entire perimeter of the Rocky Fork wilderness - including both the State Park and the surrounding national forest. Due to a fallen tree blocking the main road, this hike ended up being almost 20 miles. Just for fun, I tried using only one lens (A 35-105) on the entire hike (although had several more in the pack). Here are a few snapshots…

Rocky Fork is rich in flowing water, even along the roadside. One of the benefits of walking up the road is the chance to enjoy the many small waterfalls along the way.




Here's another small waterfall less than a mile from the trailhead.




We saw plenty of Black Bear sign along the way. Blueberries were almost ripe, and, judging from the seeds in these scats, it looks like the bears have been eating the near-ripe fruit.




Red Elderberry was at peak ripeness - not good food for humans, but fine for the bears, birds, etc.




We saw plenty of salamanders out and about in the damp shady hollows. Here's a leadback and a redback (very close relatives).






We also saw plenty of Flame Azalea at peak bloom - mostly the orange variety.






This Spicebush Swallowtail seems to prefer the nectar of the yellow-flowered Flame Azalea.






Nearby was a freshly-emerged Tiger Swallowtail, drying its wings in the green mid-day light.




Mountain Sorrel was at peak bloom at the high, cool, damp places.




So were two "beetle magnet" blooms - Galax (often called beetleweed) and Astibe.






Buzzard Rock offers clear views back into the 10,000 acre wilderness. That old A 35-105 does not do so well with landscapes, but did OK with this view.




Just beyond Buzzard Rock is one of the most unique botanical areas in our region. The Ball Ground is home to many rare plants, and unusual assemblages. Here are several views of Eastern Turkeybeard - a rare plant of the high and dry places. But notice that the first shot shows it growing in front of a Cinnamon Fern - a plant of the wet boggy places…








The last 8 miles is almost all downhill, on old logging roads, so we kept up a good pace. Only paused once, to photograph this rare orchid - Platanthera psycodes (lesser purple fringed orchid).






Hope you enjoyed the hike, and will share your comments and critique!
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07-17-2016, 08:57 PM   #2
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Great series. East TN is beautiful.
07-17-2016, 10:01 PM   #3
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Another superb series of shots.................well done.
07-18-2016, 12:09 AM   #4
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very nice shots !

07-18-2016, 04:25 AM   #5
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Very much enjoyed your shots, and appreciated the commentary around plant species.
07-18-2016, 06:18 AM   #6
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Best way to enjoy a hike is to sit back and look at the photos you took. Beautiful images. Love that first shot.
07-18-2016, 06:27 AM   #7
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Beautiful shots Ranger and another plant/flower ID for me. Thanks.

The Flame Azalea showed up on our place about two years ago, here it was identified as a Hurricane Lily, but since most lilies have a thin leaf, I always thought that name was incorrect. Now I know it's real name, I can rename the photos I took of ours.
07-18-2016, 06:34 AM   #8
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A fascinating and eclectic series and a bunch of great photography. Very satisfying!

Jer

07-18-2016, 11:22 AM   #9
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A great set! Seems to be a wonderful area to hike. Thanks for taking us along!
07-18-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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Fantastic. I see your sets and it makes me want to move back to East Tennessee.
07-18-2016, 02:40 PM   #11
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beautiful set !!!
07-18-2016, 05:06 PM   #12
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Knock Quote
Great series. East TN is beautiful.
Thanks! I am indeed blessed to live in a beautiful corner of our planet.


QuoteOriginally posted by eaglem Quote
Another superb series of shots.................well done.
You are too kind!


QuoteOriginally posted by rednax Quote
very nice shots !
Thanks so much!


QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
Very much enjoyed your shots, and appreciated the commentary around plant species.
Glad you enjoyed the words as well as the snapshots. Words and plants are part of my job...


QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
Best way to enjoy a hike is to sit back and look at the photos you took. Beautiful images. Love that first shot.
Ha! Glad you liked the hike, but the real thing is much nicer than these little images. You'll have to come see for yourself sometime.


QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Beautiful shots Ranger and another plant/flower ID for me. Thanks.

The Flame Azalea showed up on our place about two years ago, here it was identified as a Hurricane Lily, but since most lilies have a thin leaf, I always thought that name was incorrect. Now I know it's real name, I can rename the photos I took of ours.
Perhaps the flowers of Flame Azalea look a little bit like Hurricane Lily, but very different growth habit. Hurricanes are actually members of the amaryllis family (distant relatives of daffodils), and grow from a bulb. Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) is a woody shrub. Flowers may be orange, yellow, red, or even almost white. Gregory Bald in the Smokies is famous for its very diverse Flame Azalea blooms.


QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
A fascinating and eclectic series and a bunch of great photography. Very satisfying!

Jer
Thanks for your kind words!


QuoteOriginally posted by volley Quote
A great set! Seems to be a wonderful area to hike. Thanks for taking us along!
So glad you enjoyed the hike. Hope you'll get to see it for yourself someday.


QuoteOriginally posted by Jacquot Quote
Fantastic. I see your sets and it makes me want to move back to East Tennessee.
East Tennessee will always be glad to have you back!!


QuoteOriginally posted by Erikka Quote
beautiful set !!!
Thank you!
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