#Waterfalls and #Wildflowers – North Chickamauga Creek Pocket Wilderness (Hogskin Loop)

Saturday, March 14, 2014 was a beautiful day with perfect morning temperatures for hiking, and fortunately my grandson Philip had asked me to take him for a hike, so around 9 AM we headed out from Camp Vesper Point for a visit to the nearby North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area.  This was my grandson’s first visit to the North Chick, and I hadn’t been there in many years, so while I was hoping for wildflowers, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Sweet Betsy - Trillium cuneatum

Sweet Betsy – Trillium cuneatum – were plentiful, but just beginning to bloom.

On my last visit to this area, it was known as the North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness, and was owned by Bowater, the paper company.  Bowater had set aside several rugged areas for public use, and called them “pocket wildernesses.”  I suspect due to the litigious nature of our population, Bowater transferred ownership to the state of Tennessee, and the area is now part of the state park system, and has become – officially, at least – the North Chickamauga Creek State Natural Area.

Since our spring is running late this year, and since the last time I had been there was before I was “into” wildflowers, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleased with the hike, the creek, the weather, and the company of my grandson on our approximately 1.5 mile hike of the Hogskin Branch Loop trail.  There were several flowering plants in addition to the Trillium shown above, and other items of interest during our walk.  Here are a few photos.

Forkleaf Toothwort - Cardamine dissecta

Forkleaf Toothwort – Cardamine dissecta – was widespread, but, like the Trillium, more concentrated near the beginning of the trail.

Rue Anemone - Thalictrum thalictroides

Rue Anemone – Thalictrum thalictroides – was abundant. We found it along the entire trail.

 

Rue Anemone - Thalictrum thalictroides

While Rue Anemone is usually seen as white, when it first opens it is frequently the a pink color.

Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum

Wild Geranium – Geranium maculatum – wasn’t blooming yet, but it will be soon.

Buckeye - Aesculus species

Buckeye – Aesculus species – I’m not familiar enough with the trees yet to know if this is Red Buckeye or (my guess) Yellow Buckeye. I’ll need to get back up there soon to see the blossoms.

Snake

Philip spotted this tiny snake in the trail. It was cold enough to be barely moving.

Spicebush - Lindera benzoin

At one point there was a splash of bright yellow. A patch of Spicebush – Lindera benzoin – straddled the trail.

The Hogskin Loop trail crosses Hogskin Branch twice (logically enough.) The upper part is below a falls and cascades.

The Hogskin Loop trail crosses Hogskin Branch twice (logically enough.) The upper crossing is below a falls and cascades.

Hogskin Branch Falls

Hogskin Branch Falls

A great visit to a great location!

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