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!
I just spent the night with a big, black, bear. A mega-bear, gigantic...probably the largest I’ve ever seen. At least as big as a refrigerator, and maybe as big as a Volkswagon Beetle. My bear-time began around the stroke of midnight. Mica (the now-we-know-why-we-have-her-dog) woke us, barking like crazy at the bedroom window. She charged out through the dog door (not unusual) and then charged right back in. (Very unusual.) Dear Husband went out back door and I turned on the flood light at the front door. Both of us watched the huge, black rear-end of that bear amble into shadows. Back to sleep (briefly), then crazed barking. This time, the bear is RIGHT OUTSIDE the bedroom window. All that separated his enormous head from our enormous eyes was a screen, a plate of glass, and about 24 inches. A flashlight shined into his eyes backed him off a little, and he disappeared into the shadows. And a little while later he was back. During the course of the night, that big boy demolished two bird feeders and bit the suet feeder right off the tree. Around dawn, he left for good. (I hope.) Those warnings about feeding birds when bears are active? Believe them.
Two historic buildings are located on the grounds of Oconee Station State Historic Site. The oldest is a stone blockhouse that was built in 1792. The brick house at Oconee Station was built in 1805 and served as the residence of a merchant who ran a trading post on the site.
This trail follows a series of old roads, some constructed by the CCC, fire lines, and some rough areas torn up by heavy equipment during the wildfires of 2016. There is a series of blue blazes to follow but generally follows the border of NC/SC along the Palmetto Trail from the summit of Sassafras Mtn to Raven Cliff Falls Access.
The community yoga class at the South Carolina Botanical Garden is a breath-led movement class, and all bodies and fitness levels are welcome. As TKV Desikachar said, "Anybody can breathe; therefore, anybody can practice yoga."
Please join Oconee Forever on May 27th for their 6th Annual Rally In The Valley. Participants can choose between a beautiful 30- or 60-mile bicycle ride through the foothills and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Oconee County. And after the race riders will enjoy live music, craft beer and delicious food - all included in your ticket. Event-only tickets are available for purchase, too. There are limited spots available so don't delay in signing up! Oconee Forever is an all volunteer outreach group of Upstate Forever.
These fun and informal walks will expose you to a diversity of natural and cultural resources in the 17,500 acre Clemson Experimental Forest, Meet educator James Wilkins (and special guests!) at a pre-determined location and carpool or follow us on the trail. The Forest never disappoints!
DIVINE IMMERSION. It’s here. It’s finally here. After a long winter and early spring of admittedly mild weather, the air temperature and the water temperature are both warm enough to make swimming season officially here. Lake Jocassee, from now to mid-September, is the most swimmable body of water on Planet Earth. This said by an old Florida boy, born in a boat they say, swam before he walked, say others. Travel the world if you must, hunting the perfect swimming experience, or just come on over to Lake Jocassee. That’s as far as you need to go.
BEAR REPORT. I’m writing this in the dark of early Saturday morning, while we wait to see if the HUGE bear who is trapped in our fenced back yard finds his way out, having savaged all our bird feeders throughout the night. Mica, our 30 pound ‘bear’ dog, kept us up all night barking through the window. The bear, who easily exceeds 400 pounds, stared right into our bedroom window! We are waiting for daylight to see if we can safely depart our home. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. Sorry, songbirds, this may end your free meals at our house.
BLOOM REPORT. Just as the mountain laurel winds down, the Piedmont rhododendron is in full bloom and rosebay rhododendron is just beginning. If you find an area of the lake with sparkleberry blooming, you find a little spot of magic! Same with the mock-orange. Climbing hydrangea is blooming and silver-leaf hydrangea is budding. Viburnums continue to look good, and Virginia sweetspire is showing off in hidden pockets.
EAGLE REPORT. We can see the chick’s head now, poking up from the nest. Next should come seeing the young’un out on a branch, screeching for dinner time.
DID YOU KNOW?
Bears are territorial, and a male bear will mate with as many females as he can. Peak breeding season is June-July. There has never been a human death - or even an attack - by a black bear (Ursus americanus) in South Carolina.
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.