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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:52 PM   #1
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Default North Fork Stony Creek

Enjoyed a recent hike up on Holston Mountain - partly on the AT, partly on old trails, partly off trail to head to one of many hidden treasures of this wild place. The trails were thick with fog and diverse deciduous forests.
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:53 PM   #2
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Lichens and ground cedars were thriving in the cool and damp.
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:54 PM   #3
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The first few miles followed the ridgeline. Then, at a certain unmarked point, we left the trail, left the ridge, and began descending towards the North Fork Stony Creek watershed. This patch of puffball mushrooms was one of our "trail markers" along the way. Every drop of rain that hits a ripe puffball releases a cloud of spores. So spores are released when the air is damp - the best growing conditions for fungus!
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:54 PM   #4
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North Fork Stony was full of small falls/large riffles like this one…
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:55 PM   #5
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Conditions were rather treacherous down by the main falls with ice-slickened rocks and steep crumbling cliffs. But it was worth the slipping, stumbling and climbing to get to this natural amphitheater…
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:56 PM   #6
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Here are some closer views of the falls…
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:57 PM   #7
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Temperature was dropping. By the time we scrambled several miles back up to the main trail, fog was beginning to freeze on plant surfaces. Here's a rosebay rhododendron and a hemlock sapling decorated with frozen fog.
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:57 PM   #8
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And a young white pine that really is white (with frozen fog)!
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Old Feb 1, 2016, 9:59 PM   #9
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Return hike was quick and uneventful, and we were glad the heater was working in the truck! Hope you enjoyed these images, and that you'll share your comments & critique!
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