Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Short Hike with a Funny Name: Big Schloss

We got out for a quick hike on Sunday.  We went out to Big Schloss hoping to find orchids to photograph.  We didn't find any, but we did have a nice, short seven mile hike and we saw lots of other wildflowers.  We started out in pretty steady, warm rain, but the weather improved as the day went on.  By the time we were on top of the outcrop that is Big Schloss, we even had a little bit of blue sky.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
 A bright, interesting fungus on the Big Schloss Cutoff Trail.  This might be Hygrophorus miniatus as they are pretty small (~1 inch tall or so)
 By the time we arrived at the top of the ridge, we were hiking in the clouds.  This is the junction with the Mill Mountain Trail.
Helianthus divaricatus (Woodland Sunflower) blooming in a clearing.
Aquilegia canadensis (Wild Columbine).  I was a little surprised to see these blooming.  I have usually seen them blooming in June.
 The new bridge at Big Schloss in the cloud
 Suddenly, the clouds parted and we had a glimpse of blue sky over West Virginia.
 Looking south along the cliffs.
 The clearing sky and Trout Run valley below
 A really cool caterpillar.  I have no idea what species this is.
 Another interesting fungus.
I think this is Clavulinopsis fusiformis (Yellow Spindle Coral fungus).

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