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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!
I stop midstride when I see it, step backwards onto a rock slimed slick with blue-green algae, catch myself, and lean over for a better look. What is that? Nothing I ever remember seeing around Lake Jocassee, yet here it is, right in the state park, hugged tight to a rock the size of my head. Some kind of barnacle? Whatever it is clearly breathes through a center hole. and appears to have something like arms radiating like spokes from the center. I’d linger for more information but I’m on a mission with a boat that needs to be at the dock. I snap a couple of quick pics and promptly forget about it… until now, seeing that second picture, and laughing myself off this chair. The first picture, right, is what I saw, but the second picture, below, solves the mystery!~K
Spring is hiking season around here, especially May. That translates into many early morning rides up the lake with hikers to the three access points to the Foothills Trail on the upper reaches of Lake Jocassee. As the official early morning riser in the JLT team I get first call on doing these, much to the pleasure of the rest of my ‘let me sleep in’ crew. In truth I get up earlier than anyone I know anyway. I do it for the light. In particular, the light on the ride up Horsepasture River to the bridge in the early hours is simply mystical. Flowers are blooming most everywhere along the shoreline. Mountain laurel and mock orange are in full flowering abundance. Songbirds are singing away musically at the bridge. But still, it is the light than I find transcendent. On the return of my last venture uplake I saw four juvenile loons spooking tiny herring bait fish into the air, as ring-billed gulls swooped down to gather them in mid-air. What a wonder these mornings are.
From high-speed videos, Dr. Callen Switzer found that mountain laurels launch pollen at 3.5 meters/second for an average maximum speed and achieved average maximum acceleration at 4,100 meters/second2. Mountain laurels thus have "one of the fastest-moving floral parts recorded"!
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.