First off, has anyone else been getting "delivery failure" notifications when they post comments on other blogs? This happens to me almost every single time, my email inbox is full of them even though I see the comment post on their blog. (Unless they have comment moderation, and then I have no idea because I don't go back to check) I noticed Sharon had commented on my last post but when I went to my email inbox to reply to the comments hers wasn't on the list. I used to check the comments on the blog page itself a lot, but haven't done that much lately since I got my smartphone it is so quick and easy to read the comments "on the go" throughout the day. I might have to go back and double check how many comments I've missed.
|Rhododendren lined Alum Cave Trail|
After we left Forney Ridge Trail on Friday we stopped just down the mountain for a short look at Alum Cave Trail. They had no line at the vault toilet, unlike the line at least 10 deep at Clingman's Dome, and Wayne dropped me off at the trailhead last year when I hiked it alone so he hadn't seen any of it yet.
|look closely at those stones around the park for thin layers of crustose lichen!|
On the trail I re-acquainted myself with beautiful Alum Cave Creek and the rhododendren thickets
and towering Yellow Birch that greeted us.
I was quick to spot this unusual lichen because it's on my "gotta-find-it" list! Lobaria pulmonaria is not very common in North America. When looking for it remember that if it's on the dry side it may have a brown appearance and its underside is a whitish color which was easy for me to ascertain because it is loosely attached and I flipped it up to have a look. It prefers growing on old growth oak, beech and maple.
|foliose lichen - not a leaf!|
I loved this specimen that was lying on the ground.
But the neatest find on our short walk was two fungal oddities on the same rotting log.
Lycogala epidendrum, also called wolf's milk, is actually a slime mold and not a fungus. Mature specimens will turn gray or brown and emit a pink "goo" if punctured. We saw some like that in Cade's Cove today.
The second one is a Toothed Jelly Fungus (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum). The underside has "teeth" and it is usually tongue, spoon or fan shaped. How cool is that?
We're planning to go back on Monday and give this trail our full attention once the weekend crowds have departed. The fall color reports say that due to the abnormally warm temperatures the area is experiencing we'll have to continue doing higher elevation hikes if we want to see fall color. I'm making a list.....
In the meantime, not all will be fungi and lichens up here, I swear! We're even talking about taking a horseback ride and maybe even going to NOC in Bryson City for some ziplining. Today we did a lot of walking around Cade's Cove and tomorrow I'm thinking we'll try the Cucumber Gap Loop Trail or maybe Meigs Trail behind The Sinks.
Anyone know which zipline operators or horseback riding stables to recommend?