Thursday, June 23, 2022

A Walk In The Creek

The bridge over Henry Creek at Beaman Park, TN.

One of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day is to go to
Beaman Park with sandals and walk up Henry Creek, slowly, 
listening to the birds and cicadas and looking for different
forms of life...plants, fungi, animals, slimemolds.  

Even in June the water's cool and the canopy keeps you from
getting very hot.  It is pretty muggy, though, and you'll hear 
some mosquitoes, but that's part of walking outdoors in 
the summer time.  
Click here  to read about The Solar Calendar.

Begin your hike at the Nature Center and walk down the Sedge Hill
Trail to the bridge (photo above).  It's about a half mile walk to 
the bridge.  After crossing the bridge turn right and then another
right to get to Henry Creek.  Once in the creek walk under 
the bridge to begin your Creek Walk.  

These Tiger Swallowtails are sipping something near the creek.
Info on Tiger Swallowtails

Now you can begin your walking meditation.  
This simply means that you become aware of your immediate
surroundings and focus on nothing else.  Turn your cell phone 
off and don't think of the hectic life at home and work.  
Just focus on the trees, wildflowers, mushrooms...all the 
life forms around you and the sound of the water.  Begin to walk
up the creek at a very slow pace...become aware of each step
that you take...the coolness of the water and the air...the sounds
of the cicadas, crickets, and birds.  Focus on the present...not on
the problems of yesterday or what might happen tomorrow...
focus only on the walk you're taking right now...nothing else!
Soon you will come to this fork in the creek.  Today, I went to
the right;  you can take the left path next time.

You'll want to walk slowly the entire time not only because the
rocks can be a little slippery, but also it's the best way to see
mushrooms, crawdads, and other living things, such as these
Blazing Stars (below).
A species of Blazing Star.
Info on Blazing Stars
Click any photo to enlarge it.
A Skipper sipping nectar.

Feel the cool water on your feet.

Next to the creek was this beautiful mushroom,
an Amanita species.

Information on Amanita mushrooms

I barely saw this tiny Ring-necked Snake slither by.
Information on Ring-necked Snakes

A beautiful Cranefly Orchid!!
Video on Cranefly Orchids

Stop and take some time to enjoy the beauty of this wild orchid.
Look at the length of its nectar chamber!  Smell its fragrance.
Close-up of this wild orchid.

Close your eyes and just listen to this small waterfall.
Go to this site to read a hokku about a small waterfall. 

A form of poetry 
called "hokku" describes an 
experience that you go through, while in nature.  
For more information just go here.

Growing on the rocks next to the water were these
Liverworts and Mosses.

Information on Liverworts
Liverworts are plants, but they are different from most of the plants
that you're familiar with.  They don't produce flowers, nor cones, 
not even seeds!  They love water and grow near streams.  Take a 
few minutes to appreciate these small water-loving plants.
Close-up of a Liverwort thallus.

An immature Old Man of the Woods on the bottom left,
and a large white mushroom on the right.

The main body of these fungi is growing in the soil.  What you are
seeing is just their reproductive organs.  These produce spores, 
which will be blown in the wind and land on new soil and begin
a new population.

We have received a lot of rain this July, which
the fungi these Boletes.

Information on Boletes

Looks like a species of Coreopsis

Stop...look...and listen, often.
You can turn around at any time during the walk and head back.

One of my favorite plants is the Maidenhair Fern.
Here's one still growing pinnae (leaflets).
Information on Northern Maidenhair Ferns

A mature Northern Maidenhair Fern, which has produced
spore cases on the undersides of its pinnae.  It's reproducing!
Ferns are plants, but they don't produce flowers nor seeds, like the 
plants you're familiar with.
When you look under the pinnae you'll see these sori,
which are filled with spores.

Reminds me of the deposits of rocks (till) at the end of a glacier.
They are formed in the same way as this but much more slowly.

Found some neat looking Coral Fungi close to the creek.
It's amazing how they look so much like ocean coral.
Info on Coral Fungi


Be sure to stop and listen to the sounds around you!

An orange & yellow Amanita mushroom.

A fairly large Bolete.

I know there are salamanders here.  I just didn't see any.

But I did see some Minnows and Crawdads.

Some antler-shaped Coral Fungus.

A species of Beech Fern.
Info on the Beech Fern Family

This is the second fork in the creek.  I chose to go to the left.
I'll go right next time.

Most people don't know that a Turtle shell
is an extension of its backbone.  They can't
crawl out of it like you see in the cartoons.

A neat looking Bolete.

A cone-shaped white mushroom next to some moss.

When you're walking like this remember that how far you walk is
not can turn around at any time and head back.
What's important is that you are focused on what's in front of you
right now at this moment, and don't think about yesterday nor
tomorrow...just the present.

Asiatic Dayflower

Foraging for Chanterelles

Looks like a species of Mountain Mint.
Info on Mountain Mints

Remember to also look up...into the canopy,
not just down at the creek.  Stop and look for
birds.  A common bird that you will most likely
hear is the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  You can
see/hear this bird if you click the website, below:
Click here for info on the Red-Belly

Saw this on a tree trunk.  Is it an eggcase?

A beautiful blue mushroom, Lactarius indigo.
Information on this mushroom.

Even if you have a fear of spiders, like I do,
you have to appreciate the beauty of this one.

Fern and Fungus

Ashy Hydrangea

Many species of animals need these little oases to survive.
If you have sandals on, then walk in the water to feel its coolness.

Ants on an Amanita mushroom.

A gigantic mushroom.

There were millions of these aquatic Snails.

A Bolete on the hill growing with moss.

A plant called Heal All...or Self Heal.

One of the many yellow Boletes.

Old Man of the Woods
Interesting Video about this Bolete

The flowers of Tick Trefoil.
Click the photo to enlarge it.

This is the third fork in the creek.  
After I explored this area, I decided to turn around and head back 
to the bridge and up to the Visitors' Center.  The total distance
was a little over 2 miles.

If you're wanting to get outside on a hot summer day, this is
the ideal place to go, in my opinion.  Plenty of biodiversity 
to see here, in and around the creek.

To view more photos and videos of this region
just click here.

Get out and explore your natural areas!