Monday, June 28, 2010

Butterflies and Flowers on Old Rag

I first have to say that I was wrong last weekend about the heat.  In restrospect, it was practically chilly compared to this weekend.  We camped out Saturday night and I think the low was around 90 degrees.  The mosquitoes, no see-ums, gnats, and chiggers seemed pretty happy with it.  So did the summer flowers and the butterflies.

We hiked up the Weakley Hollow Fire Road and the Saddle Trail on Saturday with no breeze.  The Hughes River still has water in it, but almost all of the small side streams are now dry.  Along the way, I realized that, while spring flowers are often brightly colored, many summer flowers are white.  I'm not sure why that is, but I would guess it has to do with white standing out from the green undergrowth in the forest.  After reaching the summit, we returned to Byrd's Nest Shelter for training.

At the end of the day, we camped near the Hughes River, not too far from the old upper parking lot.  It was nice to sit by the river and not to have to drive home at the end of the day.  We saw a few late hikers coming down the fire road, but otherwise, it was nice and quiet.  We spent most of Sunday at Post Office junction for training.  As we were leaving the mountain, a thunderstorm blew in, cooling it off a bit. 

Next weekend is our last weekend with ORMS until the fall.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
A snail on a Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Tree Fern) on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.

Geum canadense (White Avens) on the Weakley Hollow Fire Road.

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not) growing in a creekbed on the Fire Road.

Monarda clinopodia (Basil Balm).

Satureja vulgaris (Wild Basil).  Both this plant and M. clinopodia above are members of the Mint Family.  One nice characteristic of Mint Family is that all of its members have square stems, making them easier to identify.  Another interesting thing about S. vulgaris is that, according to my Peterson's guide to edible plants, it can be used in lieu of commercial basil, although it is somewhat milder. 

A caterpillar eating a leaf along the Saddle Trail.

Agrimonia striata (Woodland Agrimony) near Post Office Junction.

The summit of Old Rag taken from an outcrop near Byrd's Nest Shelter.

An interesting big-eyed click beetle (thanks to Old Rag Patrols for the identification) near Old Rag Shelter.

Hemerocallis fulva (Day Lily).

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)

A butterfly (not sure what kind) resting on a leaf.

Old Rag as seen from the east on Champe Plain road.

1 comment:

  1. I think the beetle is a big eyed click beetle. One landed on me while I was taking the rappeling shots. They are a cool bug. I found a pretty good write up about them at