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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:46 PM   #1
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Default Great Smoky Mountains Institute

Had an opportunity recently to speak at the annual Tennessee Environmental Education conference. This year's conference was held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont - an amazing environmental education facility located within the National Park. Took a few hikes in between the conference sessions. First was a short hike to one of the Tremont landmarks - Spruce Flats Falls.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:47 PM   #2
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Dry weather made for not much water over the falls. Even at a trickle, it's a lovely falls, isn't it?
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:48 PM   #3
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Took another hike up Lead Cove to Spence Field. Noticed plenty of ripe Bearberry (and ripe maple leaves) along the way.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:48 PM   #4
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Even during the dry season, this is a lush green place...
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:49 PM   #5
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These two Burying Beetles were busy with a shrew carcass on the trail. These beetles are very efficient scavengers - helping to keep the forest clean and sweet-smelling!
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:50 PM   #6
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Goldenrods were also helping to perfume the air up near Spence Field.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:51 PM   #7
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Spence is a high-elevation meadow, with fine views of the Smokies high country.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:52 PM   #8
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Had to run most of the way back to get back to the conference in time, so camera went back in the pack.

But did have time for one more hike - up Middle Prong to Indian Flats. The creek ("prong") was lovely even at this low water stage.
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:53 PM   #9
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This is a very popular trail, but it's still easy to find secluded spots to "get away from it all."
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Old Oct 15, 2014, 8:54 PM   #10
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Plenty of small waterfalls along the way...
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