Tag Archives: Smoky Mountains

#NPOD: Mountain Wood Sorrel #Nativeplants

Mountain Wood Sorrel – Native Plant of the Day 05/31/2016

Photo from 06/18/2005. Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN. More photos / info at the  Oxalis montana  detail page.

Mountain Wood Sorrel, Northern Wood Sorrel - Oxalis montana

Mountain Wood Sorrel, Northern Wood Sorrel – Oxalis montana

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#RV Journal: Cades Cove Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Location, location, location. That’s why Cade’s Cove Campground is so popular. There are few amenities – bear-proof dumpsters, a cold-water-only bath house – let’s not really call it a bath house; it has no shower facilities. The C-loop also has a nice dump station. There is also a campground store, but this appears to be more of a snack and souvenir shop than a place where you can get the groceries you need for camping, so make sure you are well-supplied before you come. They do sell approved firewood – all firewood brought into the park must be certified, to reduce the likelihood of you bringing a tree infestation or disease into the park.

But it’s the location…

Cade's Cove

Cade’s Cove

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Brook Lettuce – Micranthes micranthidifolia – Added to USWildflowers’ Database

Brook Lettuce, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (09/16/2015.)  Scientific name is Micranthes micranthidifolia. Photo below was taken along the Little River Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on May 04, 2015. Go to the Brook Lettuce detail page for more photos and information.

Brook Lettuce, Mountain Lettuce, Branch Lettuce, Lettuceleaf Saxifrage, Deer Tongue - Micranthes micranthidifolia

Brook Lettuce – Micranthes micranthidifolia

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Fringed Phacelia – Phacelia fimbriata – Added to USWildflowers’ Database

Painted Trillium, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (07/05/2015.)  Scientific name is Phacelia fimbriata. Photo below was taken in the Great Smoky Mountains near Newfound Gap on May 05, 2015. Go to the Fringed Phacelia detail page for more photos and information.

Fringed Phacelia, White Fringed Phacelia, Fringed Scorpion-Weed, Blue Ridge Phacelia, Mountain Phacelia - Phacelia fimbriata

Fringed Phacelia – Phacelia fimbriata

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Elevated to State Status at USWildflowers.com

OK, that headline may be misleading. “At USWildflowers.com” doesn’t mean we have a scoop on a news story that hasn’t made the mainstream headlines yet; it means that USWildflowers.com is now treating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as it does the individual United States – you can get listings of the USWildflowers’ database of wildflower species that are found in the park.

Whorled Loosestrife - Lysimachia quadrifolia - Low Gap Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whorled Loosestrife – Lysimachia quadrifolia – along the Low Gap Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, June 28, 2014

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American Germander – Teucrium canadense – Added to USWildflowers’ Database

American Germander, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (8/18/2014.)  Scientific name is Teucrium canadense.  It is also known as Wood Sage, and Canada Germander. Photo below was taken at the Cosby Campground of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cocke County, TN on June 30, 2014. Go to the American Germander detail page for more photos and information.

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Small Purple Fringed Orchid – Platanthera psycodes – Added to USWildflowers’ Database

Small Purple Fringed Orchid, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (7/10/2014.)  Scientific name is Platanthera psycodes.  It is also known as Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid and Lesser Purple Fringed Bog-orchid . Photo below was taken in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Swain County, NC on June 28, 2014. Go to the Small Purple Fringed Orchid detail page for more photos and information.

Small Purple Fringed Orchid, Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid, Lesser Purple Fringed Bog-orchid - Platanthera psycodes

Small Purple Fringed Orchid – Platanthera psycodes

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It’s Not Spring #Wildflowers in the #Smokies, but…

My wife, two granddaughters, and I spent the week prior to July 4 in and around the western part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We spent four nights dry camping in our motorhome in the Park’s Cosby Campground – a beautiful place – and then moved for the final three nights to a nice RV park about halfway between Cosby Campground and Gatlinburg.

Sydney crosses Cosby Creek

Sydney crosses Cosby Creek on our Low Gap Trail hike.

While it isn’t springtime in the Smokies, there were still a lot of wildflowers to be seen. I thought I’d share photos of a few of them, four three of which are “lifers” for me (in my haste I originally identified the white Monarda as Monarda bradburiana; I now believe it to be Monarda clinopodia.)

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Elk – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When Europeans discovered North America, the Eastern Elk inhabited the eastern part of the continent in large numbers, including the Appalachian Mountains.  By the late 1800’s, the Eastern Elk subspecies of Cervus elaphus (sometimes classified as Cervus canadensis) had been hunted to extinction.   In 2001, after more than 120 years of absence, the National Park Service reintroduced Elk (Rocky Mountain subspecies) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as an experiment.  The experiment has been successful, and the elk are now well-established and have become a great attraction for visitors to the Cataloochee area of the Smokies.

On Monday of this week (08/01/2011) my wife and I drove the stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Balsam Gap outside of Waynesville, NC, to Cherokee.  The wildflowers were great, including some “lifers” for us like Yellow Fringed Orchid, Fly Poison, and Lion’s Foot, which you’ll be seeing on these pages in the future.  We took a side trip up Heintooga Ridge Road to check out the Balsam Mountain Campground.  The Heintooga Ridge runs along the southwestern end of the Cataloochee area where the elk are located, and Cindy and I had commented that we’d need to get over to Cataloochee someday to see the elk.  All of a sudden as we rounded a curve there were two elk standing in the road!  I quickly stopped and grabbed a couple of photos through the window as this fellow posed for us as he ambled off along the side of the road.

Elk in the Smokies - Cervus elaphus

Elk in the Smokies - Cervus elaphus

Thank you, Lord, for a great day with my wife, wildflowers, and wildlife!