Early spring weather turns thoughts to outdoors
March 15, 2012, 8:21pm
Spring has come early to the North Carolina High Country. Temperatures have peaked in the 60s most of the week, motivating flowers to bloom and people to get out and explore. One beautiful area that comes to mind is the Cascades at E.B. Jeffress Park. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is 12 miles east of Boone. It's a spectacular example of much of the natural beauty in this mountain area.
The Cascade Trail follows Falls Creek to where the creek plunges over a bare-rock cliff face on its way to the Piedmont 2,000 feet below. The trail courses through forests of yellow-poplar, hickory, black cherry, witch-hazel, basswood, black locust, and Fraser magnolia. Benches, rustic footbridges, and two overlooks, one at the top of the rushing water, the other at a lower perspective, add to the trail experience. The Cascades Trail also features signs identifying plant life evident here and throughout the region.
The understory is thick with legendary dog-hobble, said to grow so intertwined that it traps bear-hunting dogs more intent on sniffing than watching where they are going; once caught, or "hobbled," they fall easy prey to waiting bears. Other understory vegetation includes solomon's seal, flame azalea, mountain laurel, and rhododendron.