October 20th, 2012. On our way back from Young Harris we drove down the Richard B. Russel Highway (GA-348) which skirts the Raven Cliffs Wilderness. Raven Cliffs or Duke’s Creek Falls is a popular stop along this highway. We, however, drove south, turned GA-75 and US-129/GA-11. We took the Kellum Valley Rd north from the highway. At Harkins Road, the road continues as Toll Gate Road to a trail head for the Raven Cliffs Wilderness.
The road follows Towns Creek and is paved at first and then graveled to the trailhead. Just past the last house, the road was ‘flooded’ by what appeared to be spring water that flooded the area west of the road and the road itself for about 100 yards or so. Beautifully clear water; 2 to 3 inches or deeper in some parts.
Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian, Harvestbells)
It wasn’t long before we found patches of Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian, Harestbells). We continued to find them by the road to the trail head.
Flowers, up close
We wandered around the trailhead and found several interesting items…
An unidentified ‘Aster.’
A Grapefern (Botrychium sp.)
And then we found a shallow well that was probably intended to impound spring water. There was only a little water in it.
The area along Toll Road was quite moist and will be interesting to visit in different seasons.
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