Exploring Around the Lassiter Cabin

October 6, 2005

After the Fayetteville trip yesterday, we planned to stay around this area today. I took an early walk from the house down over the railroad track and down to the bridge over the White River.

Walking down the road by the row of houses right by the river, I got this view of their house on the hill.
Along this road was an abundance of white wildflowers.
I got to thinking that they might be eating breakfast without me, so I headed back to the house. It turned out that Brenda and Suzanne got back after me. They had been out for a walk-and-talk.
Bobby cooked a big breakfast of bacon and eggs and biscuits for us. After breakfast, Bobby and I walked down to the river and along the bank by these fishermen who were just launching. We stalked a large gray heron along this bank but spooked him before I could get a picture.
High on the bluff bank on the opposite side of the river is this large fancy house built by an attorney. We could see it clearly on the hillside from Bobby and Suzanne's house. But I was more impressed with all these houses built under the bridge by swifts. This row of mud houses lined the underside of the bridge all the way across the river. There were none that I could see on the opposite side of the bridge, so for some reason this side had some kind of advantage.
I was interested in the variety of wildflowers along the river bank.
This blue flower looked like a wild ageratum.

I was quite taken with the delicate blue morning glory. It was apparently native since I also saw it along the railroad track. The above flower looks a little more domesticated.

These bright red berries were growing on a vine that entwined the small trees. We saw it lots of places, so it seems indigenous.

The delicate white flower above was new to me. The interesting holes in the leaf seem to be natural, not bug holes.
With similar flowers, these two plant structures are quite different. The one at right produces seed pods like burs.

We had hiked along the river for a ways, then crossed a canebrake and the railroad track and were now headed up the hillside on this track. We could see the houses that were along the river below us.

Alongside the trail we encountered an ordinary looking brown snake, which kind of looked like a copperhead. But as it became aware of us it, went through a routine apparently designed to make it as fearsome-looking as possible. It initially coiled up and pulled its tail into a tight spiral, and shook it as if it were a rattle. Then its head and upper body started flattening out.

By the time he finished his head-spreading act, he looked like a cobra on the front end, and with the tightly coiled tail mimiced a rattlesnake on the tail end. It headed out into the grass and Bobby grabbed its tail to give me a couple of more shots. He said the tail was like a spring.

We headed on up the mountain and could now see the houses on the top on the other side of the river. I was still collecting images of the different types of wildflowers we saw. The variety changed as we gained altitude.

We encountered this purple-berried shrub, which Bobby had heard called a french mulberry. The only other place I had seen it was on our hike up Stone Mountain with the RAs. The pink flower below was similar to the smaller ones we had seen lower, but much larger.

Watch out!!

As we were walking along this trail, we came upon this fine specimen of a timber rattler, apparently out in the open on the trail to sun himself on this cool morning.

It coiled up in a tight coil and rattled at us. The rattle was surprisingly loud. We came back by him a little later and he started rattling when we were about 40 feet from him and rattled until we were way beyond him. Certainly it had made every effort to give us fair warning.

This fellow had the classic pit viper head and slit eyes, a mean-looking rascal.

There were 13 or 14 rattles, depending on what you count. I thought this was remarkable.

After our encounter with the rattler, we were certainly more observant of everything along the trail! The yellow flower above appears to be the bloom of some kind of nettle. The violet one is similar in form to smaller blooms lower down, but it is much larger and more luxuriant.

We saw several fine specimens of this butterfly.

A delicate flower, the like of which I don't recall seeing before. Alone on the mountainside, yet fashioned with the intricacy of a cathedral.

The buckeye butterfly at left has had a close encounter with a bird that took part of its left wing. The orange butterfly at right is about 2/3 its size, probably about 3 cm across compared to 5 cm for the buckeye.

We had a nice long hike by the river and up the mountain, and were about ready to sit down for a while when we got back to the house.

On to Shirley's birthday celebration

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