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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:02 PM   #1
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Had a bit of spare time this week to visit two local parks - to check on some plant populations, and also to enjoy the autumnal progress here in East Tennessee.

One park, Laurel Run, is mostly in the floodplain of the Holston River and the watershed of Laurel Run and Kiner Creek. It's rich in wetlands even in this driest of our seasons.

The other park, Buffalo Mountain, is still recovering from a fairly recent, rather severe forest fire. Between the loss of tree cover, and the very sandy soils, Buffalo Mountain has been very dry, yet still lush with autumnal discoveries.

Here's a view at Buffalo Mt, showing the many standing burnt tree trunks, and the new growth coming back in...
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:04 PM   #2
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Bracken ferns are rather drought-tolerant, and so Buffalo Mt is full of them these days. They are already showing their golden brown autumnal tints.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:05 PM   #3
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Some of the sheltered hollows missed the worst of the fire, and so still hold the more delicate ferns, and some of the late season blooms - like these false foxgloves...
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:07 PM   #4
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Young trees are returning to the burned areas, and are putting on an especially good show this autumn - lots of summer sun seems to mean lots of fall color. Here are some red maples, red oaks, and sassafras (including one with more than the usual leaf-lobes).
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:09 PM   #5
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One more from Buffalo Mt - the Smilax vines have an incredibly fine berry crop this year - promising good fall & winter food for the birds, 'possums, etc.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:11 PM   #6
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Now let's move from dry Buffalo to wet Laurel Run. The creek is usually swift and sometimes tricky to cross. But our dry autumn has reduced it to low flow and a series of pools.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:12 PM   #7
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It was fun to notice how the streams and pools caught and rendered the autumnal reflections. (It was also fun to rock-hop on up the stream!)
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:14 PM   #8
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I've probably taken a million photos of the waterfalls at Laurel Run. Only had time to check out the first falls this time, and it was down to a lovely trickle.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 4:15 PM   #9
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Hoping for more time this weekend to explore this fleeting autumn season. Hope you enjoyed these two strolls, and that your wanderings are rich in discovery too!

Thanks for any comments & critique!
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 9:10 PM   #10
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Love some of those Creek shots ... especially the green and gold reflections in the water.
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