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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!
Dressed out in camo, they lay in wait for hapless prey to move within striking distance. They hardly move at all. Days pass, and they hold position. Long tails, bulging eyes, and chubby little legs identify them as much as their smooth damp skin. Within strong jaws is a long tongue that will snatch whatever suitable snack comes their way, if it doesn’t eat them first. Salamanders blend so well into rock and wet that we stoop and peer close to find them, cold mountain water rushing around our ankles. Or we examine sheer, wet walls with cold mountain water dripping from rocks overhead down the back of our necks. The southern Appalachians are the salamander capital of the world, and in the temperate rainforest at the base of the Blue Wall, they hide in plain sight.~K
Two historic buildings are located on the grounds of Oconee Station State Historic Site, a stone blockhouse that was built in 1792, and a brick house built in 1805. Come discover their place in Oconee County history
Start your weekend by trying out a kayak or stand up paddleboard on peaceful Lake Oolenoy at Table Rock State Park. Learn basic paddling techniques, improve your balance, and try out a variety of boats during this program offered every third Friday of the month from May through October.
Be an extra early riser and take a unique moonlit hike to Bald Knob overlook on Pinnacle Trail. After experiencing the nocturnal aspects of the forest we will enjoy the pre-dawn sky from the outcrop as we anticipate the beauty of a new sunrise.
All tours of Mushroom Mountain include an introduction to fungal ecology and life cycles, laboratory tour and research overviews, and the fruiting room. Many aspects of mushrooms, including medicinal properties, cooking, and mycoremediation to soil creation will be discussed along the way!
Upstate SC Native Plant Society President, Wild Foods Expert Extrodinaire, and Jocassee Lake Tours guide Dan Whitten shares his intimate knowledge of what grows thoughout the Jocassee Gorges and how to use many of our nutritious but neglected plants. Join us!
Join us at the Hagood Mill for our Storytellers Festival and Liars Competition. We have an excellent lineup of storytellers including Johnny Thomas Fowler, Jeff Stratton, Vixi Jil Glenn, Tim Lowry, and Michael Reno Harrell.
This 5 year mushroom foraging permit meets the criteria required by the state health departments and is formally approved for the foraging and selling of wild mushrooms in the following states: GA, SC, NC, VA, NY and PA.
“Right plant, right place” will be emphasized by explanations of site and soil analysis and user preferences. Native ornamental plants for the landscape will be featured, with particular emphasis on those that thrive in the Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden on the Clemson campus.
Elementary school students join us on a garden adventure to discover the habitats and animals of South Carolina.
THIS WEEK ON LAKE JOCASSEE
October 15, 2018
YOU KNOW YOU’RE AT JOCASSEE WHEN… in just one week, we experienced what must have been the hottest week of the year (in October, for Pete’s sake!) followed by a nearby hurricane (the 3th most powerful ever recorded in the US), and that followed by the cool NE breezes of the fall’s first hint of its arrival, only to be capped by a huge paddle race at Lake Jocassee (in the middle of October, for Pete’s sake!) Now that’s a Jocassee week to remember! Bears were sighted swimming across the lake, and eagles were overhead every day. Even ospreys visited over our way, a rare visitor that shows up at times when the lake is getting low. And a mink! Did I mention that? Kay saw one on Saturday, matching now the one I’ve seen in all our years of living here. As if all this was just too much for the resident vultures of Devils Fork State Park, they have been soaring high in big numbers for the last two days, clearly feeling there is way too much going on to just hang out on the dam, soaking up the morning’s warming rays. I feel the same way.
COLOR REPORT. Although green still dominates the landscape, fall colors are starting to make their gorgeous presence known. Dogwoods, sourwoods, black and sweet gum trees are all starting to turn. Fall wonder is almost upon us.
LOON REPORT. Not yet, but I saw two Horned grebes on Saturday for the first time, and they are traveling companions of the loons this time of year. It won’t be long!
Evolutionary developmental biologists have tracked embryonic development of the dusky salamander and discovered that although lungs do start to form in that species, they never fully develop. Instead, this species produces extra blood vessels to the skin. Studies of gene activity in this and other vertebrates have revealed a key gene in the vertebrate lung that exists in two copies in salamanders. That gene is active in the lungs of lunged salamanders, but in lungless species, that gene is active in the skin, mouth, and throat. Its presence in the skin and mouth helps explain why some salamanders don’t need lungs at all.
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.