That Burns My Biscuits!

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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By E.J. Smith
Hello Elizabethton! I hope everyone is well and safe during the pandemic. I know you are washing hands, wearing masks and gloves and washing hands frequently. Hopefully, this too shall pass.
Today we will again talk about what butters our biscuits or makes us feel better about our current situation.
We may be ordered to stay at home, but we can still get outdoors and enjoy nature.  Elizabethton has so many walking trails! Tweetsie Trail is probably the best known, and it is wide enough that if you walk there it will be easier to stay 6 feet apart. And remember, you can always wear your mask while outside. Sycamore Shoals’ one mile walking trail is open now. One can enjoy wildflowers, fungi, and often observe deer feeding in the woods or meadows. The Watauga River is a daily treat as it changes almost every day due to the blessing of so much rain. If you’re having a lucky day, you can see the eagle perched on a tree across the river! There is the six mile Linear Trail from East Side Elementary to Sycamore Shoals State Park. There are more trails and y’all probably know them better than I do.
On the 9thof May, two friends and I drove up to Dennis Cove from Hunter. If you are afraid of heights, do not look down! This road scared me to death as I was in the front passenger seat. Yet, it is the most wonderful scenery; small waterfalls running off the mountain, flora and fauna, and everything is so green! I quickly learned to enjoy all the beauty of the mountain without looking down.
Next, we walked toward Laurel Falls, not making it all the way. The last set of steps were too much for me, as the senior in the crowd, and my younger friends who both have foot and back problems. We are now in training and our goal is the Falls! Oh well, the rough walk is worth every difficult step! Here is what we encountered on our quest to see the waterfall: The first thing I spotted was a Jack-in-the pulpit, standing small, but proud of its own uniqueness. Just a few more steps and there, almost in the trail was the shiny, heart-shaped leaves of the Wild Ginger. To see its bloom, one must gently clear the leaves out from under the foliage. There you will see tiny cups, yellow and brown or a rusty red, seemingly growing right from the ground. A sightly different one has brown cups, often referred to as brown jugs. Please cover them back up after you have seen the blooms.
Out next treat was a large trillium with its 3 large leaves a deep red bloom in the center. The red ones are not rare, but not easy to find either. Then, we rounded a curve in the trail and behold! It was the Painted Lady of trillium, the bloom in the middle is white with a red or pink ring in the middle. These are rare so we were very excited to see it. Another rare treat was Speckled Wood Lily, right there on the steep decline to the river. I have only seen these wonderful plants in two other places in East Tennessee. We saw honeysuckle, sweet shrub, wild azalea, dog hobble, but the one I had never seen was the wild Bleeding Heart. It was perched almost in the trail at the end of the bridge. I was amazed that it had not been trampled and took a fine photo of it. This trail was indeed among the best for wildflowers and if that don’t butter your biscuits, I don’t know what will!
I hope you have enjoyed our journey, but you have to see it for yourself to really see the wonderful bounty of nature along this trail. The guidebook called this an easy or moderate trail, but if you are an older person, you had better be in excellent shape to go the entire way. There is so much to see in Carter and the surrounding counties that we plan to make many more trips this summer. We hope you will too! Remember these two important rules: do not pick the flowers and do not leave any litter behind.
See y’all next time and I hope you will fight your cabin fever from being isolated from others by enjoying the wonderful area God has given us. Don’t forget your mask!
You are in my prayers,

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