Monday, March 29, 2010


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There's a plant in our greenhouse--a stick, really--that's been sitting in the corner for a while. A faculty member brought it back from Hawaii, but we had no idea what it was, so we called it the Hawaiian Stick. All winter we thought it was going to die. Then, a single leaf popped out of the top. Over the past few weeks it produced a green mass at the top of the stem which turned out to be buds, and finally it bloomed. Turns out, the plant is a Plumeria--the same plant that Hawaiians make leis out of. Ours is beautiful, and smells equally as delicious. Below are some of the photos I took for the greenhouse identification book I'm working on, as well as a photo of my wonderful co-worker Zoe!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fontana Dam to Walker Gap

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Locust Cove to Cheoah Bald

On day 2 we set out from Locust Cove Gap again, but this time we went in the opposite direction. We climbed 1500 feet in elevation over about 2 miles, and crossed the snow line. The weather changed drastically, and suddenly the mountain and trees were covered in an icy, wind-blown snow that reminded us of feathers. The hike was steep, but we were rewarded with a beautiful, panoramic view of the Smokies once we reached the bald.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Locust Cove to Stecoah Gap

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Appalachian Trail Maintenance

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I just got back from the AT! I spent spring break in the Nantahala National Forest with eight of my classmates and a few members of the Blue Ridge Hiking Club, cleaning up parts of the Appalachian Trail. Apparently this past winter was the worst the area has seen since the seventies--there were blow downs along much of the section that we worked on, and hikers were getting injured trying to get up and around everything that had fallen in their way. In some places the trail was nearly impassable. We worked for four days and our group collectively cleared 30 miles of trail.

Going on this trip made me realize how difficult hiking the AT can be. Many times we had to climb 2,000 feet in elevation in just under a mile, carrying chainsaws, loppers, and backpacks full of gear. We were on our feet an average of 7 hours a day. Every day was intense, and every day we all sat down to dinner exhausted, our muscles and bones aching. But every day we got a little tougher, closer to one another, and more appreciative of the woods. We met through-hikers who told us stories about the trail and who thanked us for making their 2000 mile journey a little easier. And every day I became more confident that I would eventually hike the AT myself, from Georgia to Maine.

I managed to snap a few photos, and will be sharing them here throughout the coming week. Below are a few that I took along various parts of the AT.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Burgundy leaves

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