It is time for early spring flowers in the high mountains of Western North Carolina. The warmer weather means that we can get outside. A short hike down from Lake Glenville to High Falls is just the thing.
It is too early for the trees around Lake Glenville to have leaves, but a faint red fuzz hints at the coming foliage. Spring flowers are taking this opportunity to unfurl their petals and turn the faces to the sun before the leafy canopy shadows the NC forest floor. I love the delicacy of spring flowers, the soft colors and dainty shapes. I have not learned many flower names, so I had to do some research after our hike.
In the same area, Bloodroot Flowers spread their long white petals from the curve of their lobed single leaf. While the flower is a lovely harbinger of spring, its less friendly name comes from the root’s sap. It was used in Native American medicine, but it is rather toxic and can even hurt the skin.
The trail to High Falls is new, but the builders have put a lot of work into making the trail safe and accessible. The mountains of Western North Carolina are full of springs and granite boulders, which make trail building challenging. This is one of the boardwalks that bridges a slick spot on the trail.
At the base of High Falls, I found this nodding white belled flower in the deep bed of last fall’s leaves. It is a relative of the mustard plant, and it is called Cutleaf Toothwort or Pepper-root. Again the name does not do justice to the beauty of the flowers.
The High Falls trail is not a long hike down from Lake Glenville, only a little more than half a mile, but it has a lot of stairs. I don’t want you think that I am a wimp when I say that the hike back out is quite a workout. This photo shows just a small section of the rock staircase that wends its way on one side of High Fall’s box canyon.
The spring flowers around Lake Glenville do not stick around for long, but when one fades away a different species begins to bloom. I am looking forward to seeing May’s flowers.