Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Easter Wildflower Hike 2015

Though Sydney has had a sore knee for the past several weeks, we managed to go on our annual Easter wildflower walk last week. Since she’s still having trouble walking, we choose a short, easy trail — Rock Run Loop — at Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest. The 0.5-mile trail is located in Bernheim’s forest and follows along a small creek.

We didn’t see many flowers, but we did see a trout lily, which we didn’t see that often in Virginia. Below are the flowers:

Cutleaf Toothwort

Cutleaf toothwort

Rue anemone

Rue anemone

Trout lily

Trout lily

This weekend we wanted to see if we could find any wildflowers at Iroquois Park. We were pleasantly surprised. Below is some of what we found, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, which we’ve never seen before.

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Mayapples

Mayapples

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Spring beauties

Spring beauties

Young Jewelweed (Touch-me-nots)

Young jewelweed (Touch-me-nots)

We miss seeing the Dutchman’s breeches, wild columbine and showy orchis we could easily find in Virginia, but we’re looking forward to seeing what other new flowers we can discover in our new community.

Advertisements


A sunny, anniversary walk

Saturdays have become our Sabbath, our day of rest. Last Saturday was our anniversary, so we decided to take a long walk after missing a couple of days due to rain. We went during a break from painting the wheelchair ramp in front of our home.

At Devil’s Den, we saw yellow Eastern tiger swallowtails, fritillaries and several blooms. There were several plants we recognized that did not have blooms yet. The plants we saw included showy orchis, lady slippers, Mayapples, dwarf wild iris, rue anemone, geranium, trillium, bellwort, cutleaf toothwort and bloodroot.

Showy orchis

Showy orchis

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

Trillium

Trillium

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

Lady slipper leaves.

Lady slipper leaves.

Many new four-wheeler trails have, unfortunately, been created in the woods. That means there is less places for the trilliums, orchids and other wildflowers to bloom. You’d think people would have more respect for a nature preserve, but they do not. It’s very unfortunate. In years past, the hillside would be covered with trilliums. It was an ethereal sight.

We also visited the Hiwassee end of the New River Trail and saw squirrel corn! It’s the first time I’d ever seen them in person. It looks very similar to Dutchmen’s breeches, except it is round at the top. Great end to the weekend.


Easter wildflower hike

We took our annual Easter wildflower hike last weekend. For the past six years, we’ve spent a few hours Easter Sunday on the Austinville section of the New River Trail State Park.

With notebook and pen, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and water, we look for now-familiar flowers and identify new ones. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks now, especially since this will be our final Easter walk on the New River Trail. This year, we left Newcomb’s and the notebook at home.We were too tired from painting the ramp in front of our house, so I captured what I could with my point-and-shoot Kodak camera.

The recent cold snaps didn’t hurt the plants as much as we expected they would. Many of the cut leaf toothwort, Dutchmen’s breeches and wild columbine blooms had fallen victim to the cold, but some of the stragglers were budding or in bloom. The weather was perfect — sunny, but not too warm.

In addition to the blooms, we saw a black Eastern tiger swallowtail, a comma or question mark and a female mallard.

Here are some of the plants we found:

Dutchmen's breeches

Dutchmen’s breeches

Wild columbine

Wild columbine

Bloodroot

Bloodroot

Bellwort

Bellwort

More violets

Violets

Violets

More violets

Star chickweed

Star chickweed

Hepatica with a spring beauty bloom

Hepatica with a spring beauty bloom

Ginger

Ginger

Virginia waterleaf

Virginia waterleaf

Early Mayapples

Early Mayapples


2 Comments

Harpers Ferry

On our way to D.C., we made a stop at Harpers Ferry, W.Va. This historic site is famous for the slave uprising led by abolitionist John Brown. It’s a 2 1/2 mile walk from the park entrance to the historic part of Harpers Ferry. The lady at the entrance said it takes her only 30 mins to walk.

“Ugh, I don’t think she’ll let us walk that fast,” I told her, indicating Sidney’s reluctance to walk. It’s tough being an old dog!

The woman told us about the River Access parking lot that was a lot closer to the town. We thanked her, did a U-turn in the drive and headed to the lot. What a blessing the woman was!

We started out walking around Virginius Island. It has several historic sites where homes and mills used to stand. No one has lived on the island since a flood in 1936. The island sits between the Shenandoah River and Shenandoah River Canal. The coolest part was the water tunnels along the shoreline.

Where the Shenandoah Pulp Company mill used to stand.

Where the Shenandoah Pulp Company mill used to stand.

The Shenandoah River

The Shenandoah River

Water tunnels on Virginius Island.

Water tunnels on Virginius Island. The Shenandoah is behind it.

Next up was Lower Town, which represents 19th century Harpers Ferry. It includes abolitionist John Brown’s Fort, which is a historic armory fire engine house where Brown was caught after his raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. There are several small museums and historic sites in Lower Town, including Storer College, a Meriwether Lewis Exhibit, an African American history museum and Jefferson Rock. We spent a long afternoon walking around the historic district and took a short drive through neighboring Boliver.

View of St. Peter's Catholic Church and Lower Town.

View of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Lower Town.

The main street in Lower Town. The town was filled with small restaurants, stores, living history sites and museums.

The main street in Lower Town. The town was filled with small restaurants, stores, living history sites and museums.

The armory fire engine house where John Brown was captured in 1859.

The armory fire engine house where John Brown was captured in 1859.

St. Peter's Catholic Church

St. Peter’s Catholic Church

historic building

A tour group and interpretive guide next to John Brown's Fort.

A tour group and interpretive guide next to John Brown’s Fort.

Another street in Harpers Ferry.

Another street in Harpers Ferry.

There are miles of trails in this national park, including the Appalachian Trail (AT) and a place where three national park trails meet — the AT, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal trail and the Potomac Heritage Trail. Harpers Ferry sits on a peninsula that juts out into the meeting of two rivers — the Shenandoah and the Potomac. Lots of breathtaking views from many areas around the town!

100_0829

Church ruins on way to Jefferson Rock.

Church ruins on way to Jefferson Rock.

View over Lower Town.

View over Lower Town.

View of hills and rivers surrounding Harpers Ferry.

View of hills and rivers surrounding Harpers Ferry.

Sidney was quite the star, as usual. A few people stopped us to ask about her eyes, of course, and her breed. Some even snapped a few photos. One guy, who said he was taking photos for a marketing campaign for Jefferson County (W.Va.), snapped a few shots of Sidney drinking lhassi at a local cafe. So if you see a Jefferson County marketing campaign in the near future you may see a photo of our little dogher!

Sidney enjoy a lhassi.

Sidney enjoy a lhassi.


Some spring flowers

This spring is shaping up to be the best one we’ve had in a long time. Already we’ve seen and id’d lots of beautiful wildflowers, butterflies and birds.

Here’s some flowers we found Friday and yesterday evening. I’ve identified most of them. If I’ve mislabeled them or I’ve left some blank and you know what it is, please let me know in the comments!

Dutchman’s breeches
Bloodroot

Hepatica

Twinleaf

Cut-leaf toothwort

Spring beauty

Trillium

Rue anemone

Large-flowered bellwort

Yellow Corydalis

Ground ivy or a violet


Virginia Creeper Trail, Abingdon, Va.

This weekend was absolutely lovely! If you were in the N.C./Va. area, I hope you got outside to enjoy the sunny, warm days.

We took a day trip to Abingdon, Va. on Saturday to walk the Virginia Creeper Trail and to check out Main Street.

This is the trail head off of Pecan Street, Abingdon, Va.

Chris and I had visited Abingdon together before, but it was just a quick evening trip. I’d also been with friends to see “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Barter Theater and to the federal court house to cover a drug trial for work.

So this trip was a special treat.

The Virginia Creeper is off of Pecan Street, which is just down the street from the Martha Washington Hotel and Spa.

The 33-plus mile trail starts (or ends) in Abingdon and heads south to Whitetop, Va., which is in Grayson County and is the state’s highest peak. Lots of people ride bikes from Whitetop to Damascus — all straight down hill. A shuttle in Damascus will carry you up the mountain so you can ride back down.

In Abingdon, the trail is pretty much flat and goes by cow pastures and suburbia, including a large golf course community.

Here’s some shots:

Lots of people were out on the muddy trail Saturday.

This end of the trail is perfect for a good, simple hike, bike ride or stroll. I was glad to see so many people using it.

I’ll write about the businesses in a future post.


9 Comments

Devil’s Den, Fancy Gap, Va.

Last weekend, Chris and I decided to walk at Devil’s Den, a nature preserve in Fancy Gap, Va.

Chris had heard that warm weather grasses and flowers had been planted and was attracting a lot of butterflies. With camera in tow, we set out.

We saw black-eyed susans, purple monarda, milkweed, cone flowers and Queen Anne’s lace. Here’s some scenery shots and close-ups. I’ll spare you the many, many landscape shots I took: (All photos by E.A. Seagraves. Do not use without permission.)

My hubby and puppy. Do you see the storm clouds behind them?

Queen Anne’s lace

Milkweed

Black-eyed susans

We saw lots of yellow tiger swallowtails, red-spotted purples, buckeyes and black swallowtails.

Buckeye

Yellow tiger swallowtail on milkweed

Black butterfly on mondara

Yellow tiger swallowtail on a cone flower.

More black butterflies on mondara.

We also saw a couple of indigo buntings. It was an awesome nature viewing day.

We pulled into the preserve right after a storm was going down the mountain. We walked around about an 1 1/2 hours, taking pictures of the meadow and walking down the 0.43 mile trail to the cave, which gives the preserve its name.

The trail to the cave is pretty steep so it’s not for those who do not want to or cannot climb rocks and tree limbs.

The cave

As we walked back up the mountain side from the cave, mist started rising from the valley below. The valley must have gotten a good, cooling rain after the hot weather we’ve had. By the time we left, the preserve was covered in a thick fog.