Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies


I just came back from three days at the Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies. The event goes on until Sunday but I managed to keep exhaustively busy for the time I was there.

First, I went on a wildflower walk, led by Lynda Doucette, the supervisory ranger at Oconaluftee. About 15 people walked on the Oconaluftee River Trail that I had checked out on Monday. The walkers came from the Midwest, Georgia and even two women from Taiwan. My daughter-in-law is from Taiwan and I’ve been there three times so visitors from Taiwan make an impression on me.

WP2010-mayappleWe all got our money’s worth and then some. We saw mayapples in bloom.

We also learned why trilliums turn pink as they get older. It means that they’ve been pollinated. It’s a sign to the insects to leave them alone.

We barely got to the bridge but it was 5 P.M. before we got to the Farm Museum and I hustled to get to Gatlinburg.wp2010-LyndaD

 That evening, the entertainment was Joe Wiegand, as Teddy Roosevelt. Wiegand is a TR reprisor, a word he made up, not an impersonator. He spoke as TR for almost an hour and a half. He was great; he didn’t hesitate or stumble once. He talked about his life, his children in the White House and conservation efforts. What energy!

The next morning I went on a bird walk, but didn’t see much. In the afternoon, I went on a history hike through Elkmont. The leader, Raymond Palmer, emphasized Elkmont’s railroad past, while I was more fascinated by the houses. Either way, Elkmont has a long history.

Raymond also talked about the CCC, which made an impact all over the park. He had obviously done some good research on the CCC. Raymond is a Master Ranger, with several medals and patches. Very impressive. More evidence of the military influence on the National Park Service.

WP2010-loriandersonThe indoor exhibits included Lori Anderson’s wildflowers made out of cornshusks. Lori works for the Great Smoky Mountains Association and works with these wildflowers as well. 

Her work has been accepted at the Folk Art Center – and that’s a great achievement.


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