September 30 – October 1, 2011. We went up to Black Rock Mountain State Park in Rabun County, Georgia, to look for Parnassia asarifolia, the Kidney-leaved Grass of Parnassus, one of the many, many flowers on my bucket list. There are few references to this species on the web. The USDA Plants Database indicates that this species may be found in several counties in North Georgia. I found a reference that indicated that it may be found in wet areas in Black Rock Mountain State Park including along the West Fork of the James Edmonds Trail.
So, off we went to Black Rock Mountain State Park…
We entered the park from Mountain City, Georgia (#1). The road crosses the Eastern Continental Divide as it enters the park.
At the Visitors Center (#2) Black Rock Overview, elevation 3446 ft, looking west towards Black Rock Mountain.
The view south. The object in the foreground is a NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) rain gauge.
The Blue Ridge Overlook (#3), elevation 3388 ft. The walkway to the viewing area.
The view to the northeast from the Blue Ridge Overlook
Driving back down the road (#4). The roadway is steep, winding, and overhung by rhododendron bushes.
The view to the northeast from the Cowee Overlook (#5)
A view across Black Rock Lake (#6) in the late afternoon sun. Already some Fall colors are apparent.
We thought we might hike along the James Edmonds trail in search of Parnassia asarifolia. The terrain in the park is very hilly with steep drop-offs from the road. The reference to the James Edmonds Trail indicated that the trail was quite steep so we thought we’d check where the east and west forks crossed North Germany Road.
The approach of the East Fork of the trail from the south looked fairly level where it emerged through the rhododendrons to the road (#7).
Across the road, on the north side, it was a different story. Obviously the trail dropped off the edge of the road…
Down some steep steps and then disappeared off down the steep slope. And it was steep.
Another discouragement to exploring this trail was a warning that were there active Yellow Jacket nests – probably Southern Yellowjacket (Vespula squamosa) – along the trail both ways. These wasp have a belligerent temperament if you disturb their nests and their stings are very painful.
The approach from the south of the West Fork of the James Edmond Trail (#8) to North Germany Road was no more encouraging than the trail approaches of the East Trail. These steps went straight up. So hiking wasn't on.
We’d seen several wildflowers along North Germany Road so we decided to troll along this road in search of what we could find. To be continued…
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- Black Rock Mountain State Park: download a park map here