United States of America · 3 Days · 25 Moments · April 2018

A Mile in My Shoes

30 April 2018

This wasn’t just an ordinary weekend hiking in Tennessee. This was a great trip with great friends. I’m especially grateful that I got to be part of it and I can’t wait to see what we do next. SPOILER ALERT! It’ll probably be the synchronous fireflies sometime in June.

29 April 2018

Nothing like stumbling upon a little patch of Bluets!
This three-petaled beauty is Trillium in a few different colors. Getting some of these pictures was hard work since the flowers are under the leaves. I ended up with dirt on my knees!
Dog Hobble People used to hunt bears with the help of dogs, which is how this flower got its name. It’s a pretty dense plant so dogs couldn’t get through it, but the bears sure could!
Ta-da!!! Say hello to these gorgeous Lady’s Slippers! They’re not common so they were a great find on our photography hike! I love the spiraling leaves on these and the bright yellow bulbs, they’re so pretty!
These are the flowers on the Carolina Sweetshrub. I had such a neat picture looking straight down on them but some of it was out of focus, so I settled for this one instead.
These are the Spring Beauties we found along the Thomas Divide Trail. We saw a single Spring Beauty during the photography hike and then found thousands of them later in the day. Aren’t they adorable? 😍
This little guy is Bishop’s Cap: tiny, adorable, widespread, and difficult to photograph on a windy day.
This is one of two “Solomon” plants we found. This one is Solomon’s Plume. We also came across Solomon’s Seal on the Abrams Falls trail. No good pictures of that one unfortunately, but it made the flower count list!
Shout out to Ruth for helping me ID this! It’s called Heartleaf Foamflower ☺️
I’m fairly certain that this flower is Rice Button Aster, and if it’s not I’m hoping that Ruth will correct me!
Chickweed! If anybody asks, this flower has five petals. Each one is split almost all the way down so it looks like ten, but it’s not. Only five. It’s a really common flower but it’s also really underrated. This baby was one of my favorites.
This is known as a Bleeding Heart, a somber name for a truly beautiful flower.
If you notice the unique 5-leaf pattern on this flower, it’s actually pretty easy to identify it. It’s called Cinquefoil. “Cinq” is French for the number five, so that little tip about five leaves is a simple way to remember the name.
Different shoes but it’s still me! Our rental cabin had an upstairs bedroom that was a bit hard to reach and I wanted to document the problem with it. This staircase is actually in the bathroom and based on its size, I think it’s made for small children. That doesn’t make much sense though considering it’s a nursery! How anyone could carry a baby up those stairs is beyond me. Not sure who owns this cabin but they might need to rethink that if they live there for any length of time. That layout and staircase would drive me crazy!

28 April 2018

Purple Phacelia was abundant in this area of the park and I’m so glad we pulled over to see it!
I propped my camera up using a rock and my cell phone, set a timer, and had ten seconds to leap the stream and sprint to my place. These two pictures took five tries and I was seriously out of breath by the end. I probably need more cardio in my life.
These pictures are accompanied by an incredible story. See that sign Ruth is leaning on? It’s saying that this point is the Thomas Divide trailhead, which should not be confused with the Kanati Fork trailhead. It’s not saying that the Kanati Fork trail starts here and is 1.8 miles long. It’s saying that you can walk 1.8 miles up the Thomas Divide trail and then hit the Kanati Fork trail. So when we arrived to this point 45 minutes late for our guided hike, we didn’t realize that tiny detail about the sign and ended up hiking the wrong trail for an hour and a half before realizing our mistake. At that point, we promptly called it a day and made the long hike back to the car! Talk about a great story though. It’s no wonder we couldn’t find our group!
Kanati Fork Trail, here I come! We’ve got some serious catching up to do since we’re 45 minutes behind our group, but we’ll get there eventually!
Nothing recharges me for the next big hike like tons of carbs! Haha... yes, I’m joking. Even though it was lunch time, we just couldn’t pass up the massive pancakes and skillet-size portions.
We had a short and sweet photography lesson this morning at the Sugarlands visitor center with Jack Carman, a retired aerospace engineer who’s actually published a book on Tennessee wildflowers in his spare time. He’s one of many people we’ve met so far who has a passion for wildflowers and is self-taught! Some of our guides have been absolutely amazing and they don’t even do this for a living! They make the wildflower pilgrimage a truly unforgettable experience. After the class we took a slow hike through the woods, putting our newfound photography skills to good use. It was a beautiful morning for beautiful pictures!
Jordyn the photographer in her natural habitat 😂 “The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir
BLACK BEAR: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL! This guy was hanging out on the side of the road as we were driving to our photography class this morning and we couldn’t resist turning around to get another glimpse. When we made our way back, he was actually crossing four lanes of traffic. Talk about a surreal encounter! He’s actually the sixth bear we’ve seen on the trip. We were lucky enough to see five others in Cade’s Cove yesterday.

27 April 2018

Today’s adventure was a hike to Abrams Falls with two guides who definitely knew their wildflowers! I only get ten photos per post so I’m planning to post most of my flower pictures and identifications at the end of the trip. Ruth will have to help me though; she’s the seasoned veteran in our group! Also, the extremely attractive guy taking a selfie by the waterfall is Tyler. He had all of us swooning on the hike back to the car (and panting as we tried to keep up!).
First off, don’t be fooled by the title of this Journi. I’m going to walk way more than one mile in my hiking shoes and it’s going to be amazing! I’m spending the weekend in Gatlinburg for the wildflower pilgrimage with Jordyn and Amanda (two responsible adults) and Ruth (a fellow semi-responsible adult). It’s bound to be a great time and I’ll get every bit of it down in the books, so stay tuned for snippets, stories, and pics!