Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trip to another bog with Carrie Radcliffe - Part One by Jean Hunnicutt

Trip to another bog with Carrie Radcliffe

Carrie mentioned on our SAPS trip on 8/23 the possibility of a couple of volunteers going on a GPCA workday to a spectacular series of bogs at another undisclosed site.  Kathy Stilwell and I signed up immediately, and were delighted when Carrie let us know we could go on 9/3.  Kathy later had to cancel because of a sick grandchild, but I went and had an unforgettable adventure.

The trail to the bogs was steep (1200' - 1400' elevation gain in 2.5 miles) and the bogs were soggy and mushy of course but I hardly noticed the climb or my wet, soggy feet.  The weather was perfect, and I hiked to the bogs with Carrie and a TV crew - Sharon Collins of GPB's "Georgia Outdoors" with a cameraman and assistant.  They were filming for an episode on "secret places" which should air in January.  We were joined later by more workers / volunteers from GPCA, the Forest Service and other groups.  Also along were a team from the University of Tennessee who were doing sediment borings to look at the geological history of the site.

We visited three bogs, each it seemed more beautiful than the last.  While the GPB crew did their general photographing, we cleaned up around the rare plants, pulling weeds and cutting small woody plants growing close by.  A crew came in later to do the yearly cutting of shrubs and trees to keep the sites open to light.  Most thrilling for me was seeing the Mountain Purple Pitcher Plant and Swamp Pink "babies" - seeded at the site and showing how they are staring to spread on their own.
I wished for Karen and her camera.  There was just no way for me to convey the overall beauty of the sites with my phone camera, but I'll share a few here:
Mountain Purple Pitcher Plants growing happily

The Cinnamon Ferns were huge!

Cuthbert's Turtlehead with Lobelia

This Swamp Pink was planted about 15 years ago and its location lost over time.  It has been recently discovered and...

here are some of its "babies."  Note the beautiful red Sphagnum Moss.

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