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Upstate Chapter Meeting
July 17, 2012 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
“Plants and Adventures Along the Appalachian Trail”
Heyward Douglass, who is known in the upstate for his long-term involvement with the local Foothills Trail, recently became well acquainted with a very different trail – the Appalachian Trail. Heyward spent the spring and summer of 2011 – from March 12 through September 20 – hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Maine’s Mount Katahdin, and he will describe his adventures at our July meeting.
Heyward says the early March start date ensured that he would be able to complete the trail before winter weather closed the northern section, but it also led to a big disappointment. He was looking forward to seeing spring in the Smoky Mountains — and he missed it. It turns out that spring doesn’t arrive in the Smokies as early as he had anticipated, so it was still winter when he traveled that section of the Trail.
However, he did see many beautiful places and plants as the summer progressed, and he will share pictures and stories of many of them. Heyward wants
his audience to know what it’s really like out there on the Trail, and he will describe some of the basics — accommodations, food, and the people he met. No, he
didn’t sleep on the ground all the time, and no, he didn’t have to forage for food — or even live on dehydrated stuff in little packets.
Of course Heyward plans to include lots of pictures of the plants and flowers along the trail. His program will provide an opportunity to see some new and different native plants; natives of more northerly areas, that is. Heyward commented that once he left the Southeast he encountered lots of unfamiliar plants and had to ask other hikers what they were.
Heyward is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic birder, and he thoroughly enjoyed all of the birds he saw and heard. He kept a record of the birds he encountered and reports there were a good many surprises in what he saw, even though he had previously birded over much of the United States.
Whether you are considering an Appalachian Trail adventure of your own or are a confirmed armchair hiker, Heyward’s program promises to provide a fascinating look at the sights and sounds of American’s most famous hiking trail. — Amy Fendley