Welcome to the Blue Wall Weekly, your source for what's going on outside along the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Feel free to share your own photos, videos, and adventures along the Blue Wall, and we'll do our best to make you (locally) famous!
Although, you couldn’t guess it by the temperature, all around us signs of fall are in the air. The once lush green forests are fading as if they are ready to begin the process of letting go. Sourwood leaves have already begun to shift to maroon and poplars to yellow. The autumn winds are sifting still very gently through the forests bringing an occasional cascade of leaves into the waters. Joe Pye weed and the goldenrod, the grand finale wildflowers of summer, are dimming. Monarchs are gliding over the lake, conserving energy so they can make the migratory journey to another mountain range far away in Mexico. Birds, such as warblers, tanagers and even broad wing hawks are also on their journeys, headed to the neotropical regions of Central and South America. Fall is an exciting time to be on Jocassee. As with every season it is a time when you want to keep your eyes open and your heart ready for whatever Jocassee might share with you.
JOCASSEE VALLEY HISTORY TOUR: LIFE BEFORE THE LAKE W/ CLAUDIA HEMBREE
October 5: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Join us for a tour of Lake Jocassee with special guest Claudia Hembree! Before Jocassee Valley was flooded to create Lake Jocassee, families worked, played, and loved in this remote valley. Hear the stories of life in the valley from someone who lived here as a child, and who would later write a community history of the families who called this place home. Book Now!
The trailhead is located at the Frozen Creek access area in Rosman on Frozen Creek Road. The Foothills Trail is a 76-mile National Recreation Trail trail in South and North Carolina. It extends from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park.
Begin at Jones Gap State Park following the Middle Saluda River on the Jones Gap Trail for about 5 miles to Caesars Head State Park. From there, we will hike about 4 miles to Raven Cliff Falls and back. Finally, we will return to our cars following Jones Gap Trail again (approx 5 miles).
The Six Mile Creek Trail in the Clemson Experimental Forest is about 3.6 miles and includes four stream crossings. Prepare for wet feet or take provisions to stay dry. We'll see a couple of nice waterfalls along the hike.
Gorges State Park Area Social Hiking
September 23: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Gorges State Park: Rainbow Falls & Lake
It's a short drive from the GSP Visitors Center to the trailhead. Let's meet at the Visitors Center at 10am. It's an easy 3-4 hr. hike.
The art of sketching helps deepen our experiences by requiring us to be still, in the moment, and truly observe the world around us. Join local artist, designer and educator Libby Imbody for this four-week exploration of the art of nature journaling.
The variety of fungi at Oconee State Park is amazing and never the same on two visits. We have found and identified well over 100 species on each of our previous forays with very different species turning up on each time.
Join us each month as we explore a different area of the 17,500-acre Clemson Experimental Forest (CEF). These fun and informal walks will expose you to a diversity of natural and cultural resources in the CEF.
After a brief orientation, the first leg of the hike will be silent. When we reach the halfway point, we will stop and do a guided meditation designed to open your senses and sharpen your awareness of the many life forms around you in the forest.
HAPPY FALL! Just kidding. The sun and the earth as they rotate around the solar system may think that the seasons have changed, but not so much here on the ground, or I should say water, as this is a report from Lake Jocassee, after all. After Irma’s cool week passed on, the temperatures here have returned to late summer perfection. The lake water temperature actually came up a couple of degrees, with more to come as warming temperatures are predicted over the next several days. So the lesson to be learned here is, don’t put up your swimming suits just yet!
FALL MIGRATION REPORT. Although it’s balmy at the lake, animals still follow their ages old habit of moving from north to south this time of year. Monarchs have been moving across the lake, and our hawk-eyed guide Tricia saw a kettle of thousands of broad-winged hawks above her while taking a tour group well up the Horsepasture River. There are lots of new bird sounds to be heard in the early morning, but the birds are too disguised in the forest cover to easily identify. Their lovely songs are plenty enough, though.
FALL LOON REPORT. Finally, I have something to report about our loons! It was Tricia again who spotted them, 4 new loons just after Irma passed through. Coastal refugees, I suspect. It’s way too early for the loon migration to begin, which doesn’t keep me looking up, daily, in longing search for this year’s Jocassee Loons.
FALL COLOR REPORT. The long progression of fall begins, and red dominates with sourwoods, black gum, and dogwoods. Tulip poplars and yellow asters add a splash of yellow, mountain mint is a charming shade of lavender, and the stems which once held devils walking stick flowers are a color of magenta you have to experience to believe.~B
Photo by Jump Yankee Studio
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that Broad winged hawks are a migratory raptor? They migrate from as far as Canada down to Central and South America every fall. The peak of broad winged hawk migration is usually the last two weeks of September. Broad WIngs often migrate in groups called kettles. Kettles can be as few as a handful of birds or as many as thousands of them. Official monitoring sites are set up up all along the eastern flyway. We have two in the upstate: Caesar’s Head State Park and Sassafrass Mountain. You can find a complete listing of these on Hawkcount.org
ABOUT THE BLUE WALL
Spanning three states (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) and encompassing 859,000 acres, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment, known as the 'Blue Wall' by Native Americans, contains some of the highest natural diversity of rare plants and animals found anywhere in the world.