Yesterday, I led a Friends of the Smokies group up Hyatt Ridge again. Though I had scouted the hike two weeks ago, it seemed like a totally different hike. OK – not totally different. The climb up Hyatt Ridge (1,500 feet in less than two miles) was as steep as last time. But the weather and the flowers made it a different hike.
Fourteen hikers, several new faces, climbed up. If some felt that they were behind on the climb, they weren’t. When we stop for a break, I always look at my watch. From the time I stop until Keith, the sweep, catches up, it’s always less than five minutes. One hiker came from Oak Ridge, TN and another from Raburn, GA. Most were from Waynesville and Maggie Valley.
The hills were alive with wildflowers.
White trilliums were the stars of the hike. But coming down on Beech Gap Trail, you couldn’t help but feel you were in a flower book. Here’s what I can remember:
White trillium and Catesby Trillium
Hepatica, fields of spring beauties and still some bloodroot
Yellow bellwort and trout lilies
Violets of all color and size
Brook lettuce in the run-off from a little waterfall
Fringed phacelia in the parking area
And lots more I can’t remember.
You get one more crack at an abundance of spring wildflowers. On Tuesday May 21, Friends of the Smokies will go to Big Creek for an easy, gentle hike which should be full of wildflowers.
To register for the hikes, contact Friends of the Smokies ator 828-452-0720.