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Welcome to the Blue Wall Weekly, your source for what's going on outside along the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Feel free to share your own photos, videos, and adventures along the Blue Wall by sending them to the email address at the bottom of the page, and we'll do our best to make you (locally) famous!
We drift at idle speed into a small cove on Lake Jocassee. Deep in shadow, a curtain of water dribbles off a rock overhang, splattering on rock, spilling into cold lake. A cover of glossy leaves--rosy red from winter chill--carpets the steep hillside beside the falling water. Binoculars up, we scan for flowers. It’s the season of ‘first flowers’ along the base of the Blue Wall… first hepatica blooms, first trout lily blooms, first rue blooms, and there, tucked demurely under the shade of a glossy red leaf with its sharply toothed margins, we spy the first Oconee bell bloom. In the Jocassee Gorges Oconee bells serve as the harbinger of spring, leading us out of winter’s solitude into spring’s explosion of color. It’s a big deal around here, since the entire native population of Oconee bells grow within the confines of the Jocassee Gorges, and everyone wants to come out and see the Bells bloom, as evidenced by this week’s calendar. ~K
Let's meet at Ravens Cliff falls trailhead Parking lot, carpool to Sassafras Mountain and start our hike from there. This is not a beginner hike. You must be able to hike at least 2.5 mph in order to keep time.
I spent a portion of my Saturday exploring the lake with five sisters who came to Jocassee on one of their outings for their annual get-together. While watching loons and ring-billed gulls in a feeding frenzy in the Horsepasture River channel, we all spotted this root flare tucked inside a cave in the bank. Marveling at it & speculating about how it got there; did the current move it or was it by human hand, etc., Cathy spoke up and said it reminded her of an anhinga taking flight. What do you see? Directly to the left of it was this beautiful smooth alder, Alnus serrulata; displaying both male (long yellow) and female (short red) catkins. In addition to this we saw 2 adult and 2 juvenile bald eagles, 8 wood ducks, kingfishers and grebes (Horned and Pied-billed). What a day! It’s amazing how quickly 4 hours goes by when you get caught up in nature’s beauty. If you’re searching for places to go and things to do with family and friends, consider Jocassee. I promise you won’t be disappointed.~Sheryl White
Robert Marsham, the founding father of modern phenological recording, was a wealthy landowner who kept systematic records of "Indications of spring" on his estate at Stratton Strawless, Norfolk, from 1736. These took the form of dates of the first occurrence of events such as flowering, bud burst, emergence or flight of an insect.
ABOUT THE BLUE WALL
Spanning three states (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) and encompassing 859,000 acres, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment, known as the 'Blue Wall' by Native Americans, contains some of the highest natural diversity of rare plants and animals found anywhere in the world.