The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




John Muir Trail Wildflower Hike
Saturday, April 11, 2009

Difficulty rating: Easy

Elevation gain: Minimal elevation gain

Hike Leader: Leon Bates 338-4092 (H) or 256-710-5508 (C)

Brief Description:  An easy spring wildflower hike along the John Muir Trail and other sites along the Hiwassee River.

Length:  1-3 miles

Directions to Trailhead:  We will depart from the John Muir trailhead at Childers Creek at 8:00 AM.  From Hwy 411 follow TN 30 to Reliance, cross Hiwassee River on TN 315, turn right past railroad tracks onto FS 105, trailhead 0.5 miles on right. 

Trail Description:  This hike along the John Muir Trail and other sites along the Hiwassee River will allow hikers to view spectacular scenery and wildflowers in  all their splendor.  Abundant wildflowers will be available for close-up inspection. Hikers are encouraged to bring a magnifying lens and camera.  We will hike about one mile and return for carpooling to Big Bend and Towee Creek area.  (Note:  day use user fees are applicable.)  The first loop follows the trail downstream about one mile to view colonies of trilliums, blue cohosh, wild ginger, Jacobís ladder and pawpaws.  More diverse flora will be viewed at Towee Creek.  If time permits on the return to Hwy. 411 we will stop at river access sites that have profuse displays of flowering plants such as bluebells, yellow root, fire pink and bloodroot.

Bring lunch or snacks and drinks if you plan to stay through lunch.  Wear comfortable walking shoes and rain gear if needed.

Call Leon at 338-4092 or 256-710-5508 by Friday evening April 10 to confirm attendance or if you have questions.

Post Trip Report: Four hikers, Jane Bohannan, Ann Gray, Yvette Strickland and Sherry (from the Hiwassee Hiking Club) made the trek along the John Muir Trail on April 11.  Spring wildflowers were at their prime including several uncommon species such as Catesby's trillium, one-flowered cancer root, and native orchids.  A partial list of 85 species was compiled and is available for interested hikers.

Hikers also visited the short trail behind the Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River Office near Gee Creek and viewed large colonies of yellow trillium, Virginia bluebells and Solomon's seal.  This very accessible trail along the Hiwassee River is recommended for wildflower viewing by senior citizens and young hikers.

An American Woodcock was flushed from an old, open field near the Childer's Creek trail head, providing some hikers their first sighting of this shy camouflaged bird.  Woodcocks commonly feed and nest in these open riparian zones along the river.  Alert hikers can observe the elaborate courtship of these birds on moonlit nights wherein the male flies in an upward spiral emitting nasal calls and drops like a fluttering leaf to the ground then repeats the "show off" flight again and again.

So much for musing about birds and wildflowers but isn't that part of what hiking is all about!

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