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Though I haven't been able to get out much since last fall, I do like to wander the trails here on Signal Mountain where I live above Chattanooga, TN.
One of the closest trailheads is just a mile or so from my house, and less from a mile down the trail is Rainbow Lake, and old reservoir built at in the narrow gorge around 1910. There was an old resort and cabins above the canyon, looking out over the loch-like lake and cascading stream. Now it is all reclaimed by nature, with only a few stone and cement remnants of the Golden Era leisure.
There are thousands of beautiful Eastern Hemlocks in and around the gorge, thriving for years in the cool moist slopes, but that is all about to change. The cursed Wooley Adelgid, an invasive Asian bug, has decimated millions of the trees in the Appalachians, and has now found it's way into the Tennessee Valley and up onto the Cumberland Plateau, of which Signal Mountain is an outlier.
I have a large Hemlock in my yard that I need to inoculate with a ground treatment for the little devils, and I plan to order more of the treatment than I need so that I can inoculate a few of the ones along the trails up here as well.
Not sure what the pinately compound leafed plant is, need to look it up. My identification skills are getting rusty!
A very young Broadleaf Magnolia
I think I know what this is, but I need to check and confirm :)
A large, pretty wood snail
I do love mosses!
Some wild Heuchera
More ferns and some Bear Corn (Conopholis americana), a non-photosynthesizing plant.
One of my favorite understory plants of this region, Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus), the flowers and leaves have a sweet and slightly spicy aroma.
The unmistakable Jack in the Pulpit!
Trillium with flowers past their prime. The mottled leaves are so pretty by themselves, though.
The destination of our walk: the old lake dam and spillway. All the rain this spring has Middle Creek swelled to an impressive torrent.
While the water is still this high I really want to scramble down the canyon to Rainbow Falls, where the flow plunges off an 85 foot drop into a large water carved hollow and deep blue-green pool.
The weather is also almost warm enough to go swimming! Jumping off the rope swing and this dam is one of my favorite summer activities :)