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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:23 PM   #1
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Default Both Sides (Buffalo Mt)

Buffalo Mt sits astride the Unicoi County/Washington County TN line. Much of it is Cherokee National Park. Part of it is a fine little Methodist camp. And part of it is a city park! So hikes on different sides of the mountain are always great trips, but always different.

Had a chance to hike both the Unicoi County side (Pinnacle Mt Trail) and the Washington County side (White Rock trail) recently. Mostly just to enjoy some views in the high country, but also to check on some late-season wildflowers...
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:26 PM   #2
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Autumn's progress was evident on both sides of the mountain! Here are some views of Black Gum foliage - one of the brighter of the early-turning trees.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:27 PM   #3
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Here is some of the Red Maple "carpet" on the Pinnacle Trail...
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:30 PM   #4
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And a few more foliage shots - a Smilax vine, a Mulberry sapling and a Solomon's Seal plant, each showing off their autumnal tints.
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:32 PM   #5
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We did find some new records for some late-season flowering plants. None are rare, but each another bit of information added to our knowledge of what grows where, so land managers can take better care of our botanical resources.

Here are a few views of Curtis' Milkwort - a tiny plant of the dry Mt ridges...
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:36 PM   #6
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Here are some Gentian and Lobelia records...
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:37 PM   #7
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And some Asters still to be identified - the asters are a very complex group of plants, and I'm still (slowly) learning to tell the species apart...
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:42 PM   #8
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Recent rains and fogs have been great for the mosses & lichens and such. We noticed a fine little rocky, mossy scene on up the mountain, and I decided to try it with several different lenses. Not a very scientific comparison, but just curious which you prefer (taken with A 50 F1.4, A 35-105, and DA 35 macro).
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:46 PM   #9
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The Forest Service recently reopened the trail up to the Pinnacle Tower on Buffalo Mountain, and even more recently restored and reopened the tower itself. Trail is open to hikers and Mt Bikers (a long slow ride up, a very fast and tricky ride down!) Hope is that the restored tower will bring more tourism dollars to a region (Unicoi County) that is rich in scenic resources, but poor in monetary resources.

(PS - do you notice anything odd about the compass rose? Taken from the ceiling of the restored tower).
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Old Sep 28, 2011, 8:48 PM   #10
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Here are a few views from the tower, looking out at scenic Unicoi County Tennessee...
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