Pigeon Mountain – Trees and Tunnels

Pigeon Mountain – a major spur of Lookout Mountain – is a wonderful place, even outside the fabulous wildflower site called The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain.  During hunting season – turkey in the spring, and deer in the fall – there are a few roads opened that are closed the rest of the year.  These were opened in early September at the beginning of archery season (firearms deer season started today – Saturday, Oct 20, 2012.)  I was fortunate enough to get down onto two of these – Estelle Mine Road and Owl Hollow over the past couple of days.  Ostensibly the trip on Friday was to photograph an Agalinis species that I really wanted to be, as reported by others, Agilinis decemloba.  I got the photo, and I think it’s likely Agalinis tenuifolia instead.

False Foxglove - Agilinis spp.

False Foxglove – Agilinis spp.

While I was disappointed not to fine retuse corolla lobes on the Agalinis, Friday at Pigeon Mountain, followed with a wonderful drive with my wife on Saturday morning up the Estelle Mine Road, was anything but disappointing.  Check out a few of the photos I took on those two days…

There are still Common Evening Primrose growing in many places around Walker County, including this one along the Blue Hole Road.  I stopped to photograph it before heading to the cedar glade for the Agalinis examination.

Common Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis

Common Evening Primrose – Oenothera biennis with Goldenrod hiding behind it.

After wandering around the cedar glade for a while, I decided to try to find the TAG Line railroad tunnel that went through Pigeon Mountain.  I had known about its existence for a couple of years, but hadn’t found it.  The access is through the Owl Hollow Road, and it was closed all year last year.  I had noticed that Owl Hollow Road was open this year, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  Turned out to be pretty easy to figure out the route to it, and my Subaru made the drive to the north entrace to the tunnel pretty easily.

Pigeon Mountain Railroad Tunnel North End

Pigeon Mountain Railroad Tunnel North End

I wanted to get an idea of what the inside looked like, so I went in about 100 feet with my camera on the tripod.  This was an exposure at F16 for 8 seconds at ISO6400, lit by the light from the opening behind us.

Pigeon Mountain Railroad Tunnel

Pigeon Mountain Railroad Tunnel

I didn’t just look at flowers and tunnels – I did notice that the fall colors are getting pretty near peak, and I wanted to share that with my wife.  We headed back down to Estelle Mine Road at 8 AM Saturday to see the fall colors in the morning light.  Not being a landscape photographer, these photos don’t do it justice.

 

Fall Colors - Pigeon Mountain by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Fall Colors – Pigeon Mountain

Fall Colors - Pigeon Mountain by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Fall Colors – Pigeon Mountain

Fall Colors - Pigeon Mountain by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Fall Colors – Pigeon Mountain

Hope you enjoyed the ride(s) – we certainly did.

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