Jan and I will be leading early morning bird walks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Thursday late afternoon, Jan will be teaching a Beginning Birder workshop at the Blackwater Falls State Park Lodge.
Thursday evening I will be the keynote speaker presenting the program “Wildflower Pilgrimage Mysteries and Magic.” I will be telling stories from my book, “Rainbows, Bluebirds and Buffleheads,” as they relate to the West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage.
Friday (above photos), Jan will lead a tour to the Cranesville Swamp, a National Natural Landmark. It is one of the few remaining boreal bogs in the southern United States, unusual because it harbors many plants and animals that are normally only seen in more northern climates. Eastern hemlock, red spruce and American larch are some of the few trees in this acidic boreal bog. The northern relict wetland complex also supports a wide variety of smaller plants such as goldthread, trailing arbutus, gay wings, several species of sundews, cranberry and a variety of ferns and mosses. Nineteen diverse wetland communities are home to such birds as Blackburnian, magnolia and chestnut-sided warblers, alder flycatcher, golden-crowned kinglet, indigo bunting and northern saw-whet owl.
Friday (above photos), I will be leading a Dolly Sods Wilderness hike on the Alder Run Bog…Fisher Spring Run Bog Loop Trail. This trail traverses a wide variety of habitats highlighting the scenic beauty of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. The hike begins with the last quarter of the Beatty Labyrinth, continues along the edge of Alder Run Bog, through a thick Red Spruce forest, and then into an 85-year-old Red Pine forest to the High Mountain Meadow Trail. Heading south through an open meadow we follow deer trails and old railroad grades to the southwestern edge of the Fisher Spring Run Bog. After crossing the bog we continue through mixed forest, meadow and red spruce habitats. After crossing the east end of the High Mountain Meadow Trail (near the road), we again follow deer trails through red spruce woods and meadows eventually entering and crossing the south side of Alder Run Bog. We connect again with the last quarter of the Beatty Labyrinth to return to the Red Creek Campground. HIKING boots, long pants and rain gear are REQUIRED! There will be restroom facilities available at the Red Creek Campground at the beginning and end of the hike.
Saturday (above photos), Jan and I together will lead several shorter hikes, “Special Hikes to Favorite Places on Dolly Sods.” The first hike is a 1.2 mile (round trip) on the Old Growth Trail through a red spruce woods with mountain laurel/rhododendron borders ending in an old growth deciduous woods with a variety of high mountain spring wildflowers, interesting birds and giant oak trees. Then we drive a short distance to our second hike: the 2.2 mile (round trip) High Mountain Meadow Trail. This trail leads through a variety of habitats, briefly crosses Alder Run Bog, and continues through a large red pine forest with an extensive undergrowth of ferns, The trail ends at an area of high mountain meadows which we may explore. The last hike, time permitting, is along the Allegheny Front Vista Trail. Hiking 1/4 – 1 mile (round trip) we will enjoy some of the best scenic overlooks in West Virginia. HIKING boots and rain gear are REQUIRED!
For additional information and registration: http://wvgardenclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Wildflower-Pilgrimage-Reservation-Form-2017.pdf