Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wildflowers in White Oak Sinks

Yellow Lady's Slipper
Spicebush Swallowtail
This was an incredible day!  Today, my daughter, Kacey, and I hiked up from Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead to White Oak Sinks in search of the annual showing of blue phlox, trillium, and purple phacelia.  We were NOT disappointed!  The showing included everything from Foamflower and Bishop's Cap to both Yellow and Pink Lady's Slippers in a stunning display.  The valley floor of White Oak Sinks was simply carpeted with lovely wildflowers.  Shooting Stars surprised us, and butterflies visited from flower to flower, daring you to capture their never-still wings on camera.  I was blessed to be revisiting this beautiful place after an absence of about six years (except for a premature visit about two weeks ago when very little was in bloom).  At that earlier time, Kacey and I were in a group of hikers taking a guided tour during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There we learned the names of many of the flowers that we again saw today and that we have come to know so well in the years since.  I remember the thrill of entering that exquisite valley for the first time, awestruck with the beauty that this special place holds.  It was almost as thrilling again today!