Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Down into the Eastatoe

I just returned from a trip down into the Eastatoe Gorge in Northwest South Carolina. This special place is one of the epi- centers of South Carolina's temperate rain forest and home to some amazing plant and animal life. Most notably, perhaps, is its variety of filmy ferns, which include the only North American location of the Tunbridge Fern (Hymenophyllum tunbridgense) and another species that is only found otherwise in South America. I was able to locate Taylor's Filmy Fern (Hymenophyllum tayloriae) but was unfortunately unable to locate –just yet– the more photogenic Tunbridge. I hope to make another trip down into the Gorge this spring and see if my luck improves.

The day was very pleasant with beautiful, mist-filtered light and the gorge had a very ancient ambiance. Eastatoe is the Cherokee word for the Carolina Parakeet which is now extinct and I couldn't help but imagine what the site might have been like 300 years ago when these colorful birds filled the air. I'm going to be posting more images from this outing over the next few days so stay tuned. It was a great way to start off the new year.


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