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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:03 AM   #1
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Default Prentice Cooper State Forest

While visiting some family in the Chattanooga Tennessee area, had a bit of time to hike together at Prentice Cooper State Forest. Part of the Cumberland Trail comes through here, with great opportunities to see the Tennessee River Gorge.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:06 AM   #2
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This is an area of fascinating geology - mostly sandstone (very different from the limestone back home in NE TN). Makes for much drier forests, and many rock house caves.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:07 AM   #3
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Local geology also makes for a number of "stone doors" like this one, and plenty of small waterfalls (I don't like trying to photo waterfalls in the bright sun, but that's all we had!)
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:09 AM   #4
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The season here is about 1 or 2 weeks ahead of ours, so leafing has already begun. Here's a Maple and a Christmas Fern opening to spring.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:14 AM   #5
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Plenty of bloom, despite the dry land! Serviceberry trees are among the first to bloom - named because they bloom when the roads begin to dry out, and the circuit riding preachers could once again get up into the mountains to lead church services.
Wake Robin is another early bloom - it wakes up with the spring robins.
And Trailing Arbutus is a tiny, but great-smelling bloom of the dry spring woods.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:15 AM   #6
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We heard lots of warblers and vireos, but we were too loud to get close. But a very patient Mockingbird posed for a while (state bird and also mascot of UT Chattanooga!)
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:17 AM   #7
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There's a small fire tower (lookout) at Prentice Cooper State Forest - a good spot to see the rather flat rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 6:18 AM   #8
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Hope to return to this region of Tennessee again, both to enjoy the fine country, and the fine family members there!

(Thanks for any comments/critique!)
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 8:49 PM   #9
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Looking good as usual.

Patty
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Old Apr 6, 2010, 1:00 PM   #10
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Great series, mole! That Christmas fern is cool!
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