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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:04 PM   #1
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Default Early Summer Fire Tower

Monday was a perfect first day of summer for a hike up Holston Mountain - bright sunshine, clear skies, and much diversity of trail opportunities.


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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:05 PM   #2
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Recent storms and now plenty of sun & heat are perfect for all the blooming things. Here are Virginia Dayflower, one of the Wild Sunflowers, and Tennessee's state wildflower - Passionflower.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:06 PM   #3
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With all this sun & moisture, it won't be long before the Wild Blueberries are ripe!
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:06 PM   #4
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Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. Looks like this Buckeye leaf got a little sunburned (or maybe heat-stressed)...
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:07 PM   #5
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The trail up to the fire tower was FULL of Poke Milkweed (a higher elevation species), and so was also full of butterflies. Here are: Monarch butterfly, some Great Spangled Fritillaries, and a rather elusive species - the Diana Fritillary (this one is a male)
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:08 PM   #6
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Two more butterflies along the trail - an Eastern Tailed Blue (they move their hindwings all the time they are perched, so those "tails" will look like antennae!), and a rather tattered Northern Pearly Eye.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:09 PM   #7
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Some great views from the tower across Holston Mountain.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:10 PM   #8
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And some not-so-great views of smog hanging over nearby Bristol.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:11 PM   #9
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Headed on out to Flint Rock, searching (unsuccessfully) for some more rare plants. But did find this "x-rated" grasshopper photo.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 5:11 PM   #10
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And a very cooperative little toad (which pose do you prefer?)
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