Monday, March 30, 2009

Devil's Fork State Park

A rare Treasure~
An unplanned outing Sunday, March 29 resulted in a beautiful afternoon, filled with interesting and rare sights and photo opportunities at Devil's Fork State Park. While parking, we spotted a woodpecker on a nearby tree. I later realized this was a Yellow-bellied sapsucker, my first sighting of this bird.

The Oconee Bell (Shortia galacifolia), a beautiful rare wildflower is found in only certain locations in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. About 60% of the natural habitat of the Oconee Bell was destroyed when Lakes Keowee and Jocassee were constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Amazingly, approximately 95% of world’s population of the Oconee Bell is found within the borders of Devils Fork State Park. The Oconee Bell Trail is a lovely 1 mile loop trail with beautiful scenery along the entire way, with blooming Oconee Bells in late March and early April. I have also listed the other wild flowers we encountered. One of the most interesting is the French broad heartleaf, often referred to as wild ginger. The heart shaped leaves of this plant are easily spotted popping up through the dead leaves on the forest floor, but the blooms of this plant are often overlooked because they are at the base of the plant and are hidden under the dead leaves. The wildflowers are really beginning to bloom throughout the forest, so join us for the next outing!
See you in the woods~

Pictured in this blog:
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Oconee Bells
French broad heartleaf or wild ginger
Downy Yellow Violet or spearleaf violet
Waterfalls along the trail

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Carter and Holmes Orchids

Following our Saturday trip to the Congaree National Park, we took a side adventure to visit Carter and Holmes Orchids in Newberry SC. Carter & Holmes has 18 greenhouses, (that is over 10,000 sq. feet of greenhouses), and have been in the orchid business for over 64 years. The sell orchids locally and ship through out the United States and in many counties around the world. This is a fascinating place to visit...and buy!

Congaree National Park

Our latest excursion was to the Congaree National Park near Columbia, 03.21.09. This is a fascinating and unique place; the Congaree canopy height is over 100ft tall and is one of the tallest temperate deciduous forests in the world. We walked the boardwalk loop, a 2.4 mile trail through towering Cypress, Pine and Tupelo trees. The park has over 20 miles of hiking trails and guided canoe trips and is certainly worth a repeat visit. On our way home, we took a side trip by Carter and Holmes Orchids. I will post an additional blog for this trek, so check out the pics.

See you in the woods~