Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring Walk At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, 26th March, 2015 (Part 2)

March 26th. (Continued from…) I started to walk at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back. This is a rewarding walks for viewing wildflowers.

The route which I described here. It was still early in the season and I didn’t expect to find much in the way of plants but the weather forecast was for fog and I wanted to take some photographs along the lake shore in the fog.

I set off along the fishermen’s trail along the shore through the ‘Rock Garden.’ I noticed some damage to the tree trunk in the lower right of the photo. 

The damage was quite fresh. A beaver had feasted on the bark. 

When I looked at the other side of the trunk, there was extensive damage to this side as well. The tree is now almost completely ring-barked. I wonder how long it can survive. 

A young leaf had emerged from the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). 

Developing flowers on a Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda). It wouldn’t be long before they would contribute to the pollen season. 

Some fresh brackets of a Turkey Tail-like fungus. But these were not what I had come to look for. 

I had resisted the urge to ‘dig’ for flowers of the wild ginger Little Brown Jug (Hexastylis arifolia). The flowers develop under the dead leaves. To find them, it’s necessary to gently remove the leaves. This was a particularly nice cluster of leaves. 

I wasn’t disappointed. There were many buds including one, on the right, that was beginning to open. There were also a few new leaves developing. I replaced the leaves before I left. 

I found these buds when I ‘excavated’ another clump of leaves, and… 

This clump of leaves had only one bud and new leaves were just beginning to emerge. 

The buds on this clump were quite small but the new leaves were more developed. Enough with excavating ginger flowers. 

We’d had some dry weather and the Resurrection Fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides) fronds were already starting to curl as they dried. 

Then along the trail to the Old Fort before heading back along the trail.

I like to walk loop trails. I usually don’t like walking back along a path I’ve already walked but this trail is an exception. It’s funny how I don’t see some things going along the trail in one direction but see them on the way back.

I spotted this Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) vine growing on one of the trees at the edge of the cliff. 

I love plants with perfoliate leaves. I was going to enjoy watching these flowers develop. This is one of the few places along the walking trails in the park where Trumpet Honeysuckle vines grow. At one time, these vines grew and flowered along the trail from the campground to the dam but they were destroyed when that trail was manicured a few years ago. 

This was the really pleasant surprise for me on this walk. I knew there were a couple of small Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) bushes – not much more than a stem or two – at the southern end of the Rock Garden. I’ve never seen them along this section of the trail. I’ve also never seen Eastern Sweetshrub flower buds this early in their development so this was a very special treat for me. 

I continued down the trail to the first bridge. 

I found that, in addition to clearing the walking trails near the shelters, the paths through the disc golf course had also been raked clear. I’d thought about trying to walk the disc golf course during winter but I’m not familiar with the course and was not sure that I could find my way around it without getting lost. I’ll have to walk it while the paths are easy to follow; then I’ll be ready for next Winter. 

I made my way back towards the shelter. 

When I set out on this walk, there was a fallen tree across the trail. 

When I returned, a crew had been through and removed it, leaving a bit of a mess but an open trail. 

Clearly, Spring had sprung! It’ll be interesting following the wildflowers that have started to make themselves visible and those that are still to come. 

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