Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Tribute From The High Knob Massif


April 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM
Little Stony Creek of High Knob Massif
Whitewater Churns On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.



The Appalachian Climate Center

April 21, 2015 at 2:46 PM
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Early Afternoon Skies Above Bear Rock
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring is a glorious time of year and there is no better place to illustrate that than the High Knob Massif and southern Appalachians of the USA!

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Bear Rock Ridge of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Like so many of the gorges draining the high country of the High Knob Massif, the rock laden chasm of Little Stony Creek is truly a rugged wonder of Mother Nature.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Little Stony Creek Gorge View From Bear Rock
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A close look reveals "white" near bottom of the nearly vertical mountain walls forming this gorge.  That is churning whitewater on Little Stony Creek which made notable "noise" even atop Bear Rock Ridge ( Laurel Fork Creek could be heard on the opposite side, to left of this view ).

April 21, 2015
View From Windy Bear Rock Ridge
Zoomed Toward Visible Whitewater In Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Bear Rock is a quartz-arenite sandstone capped spur ridge on the western side of Little Stony Creek Gorge with a heath-barren type of environment.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Heath-Barren Setting Along Bear Rock Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Heath-Barren Setting Along Bear Rock Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Turkey Vultures ( Cathartes aura ) took advantage of thermal drafts
to soar above the gorge despite occasional strong gusts of wind
( April 22 was MUCH worse with ROARING winds ).

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Looking East To East-SE From Bear Rock
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Looking Southeast-ESE From Bear Rock
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A large number of majestic Canadian Hemlock trees ( Tsuga canadensis ) continue to line the gorge and it is hoped that bitter cold from winter will help slow, or even stop, the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid infestation this year.  Time will tell.

April 21, 2015
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Beautiful Afternoon In Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Stony Gorge is full of rock formations. 

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Looking Toward The Upper Falls & Middle Falls
Chimney-like Rock Formation Looking Upstream
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Many can be viewed along the National Recreation Trail that goes along Little Stony Creek through the gorge ( now part of a 33+ mile trail system in the High Knob Massif ).

April 21, 2015
Rock Formation In Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Rocks in the gorge are not just 
in huge cliff forms like these.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Rock Laden Amid Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

They are everywhere in and upon the ground,
which makes good habitats for diverse species.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Makes Good Habitat For Many Species
Rock Laden Amid Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Rock Laden Amid Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Waterfalls of Little Stony Gorge
One Of Many Whitewater Gems In The High Knob Massif

April 21, 2015
Clinch River Basin of High Knob Massif
Majesty Of Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

A close view of the above scene will reveal that 
Moss Plants are undergoing sexual reproduction!
Reference Life Cycle Of A Moss Plant Animation

April 21, 2015
Clinch River Basin of High Knob Massif
Majesty Of Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Most who visit Little Stony Gorge come to see the waterfalls, with the Upper Falls visited more than any other, such that some may not even realize there are two more significant falls downstream and a host of other falls and rapids all along this Class IV-V+ whitewater creek.

April 21, 2015
Elevation 2260 feet
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Elevation 2260 feet
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Elevation 2260 feet
Upper Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Elevation 2240 feet
Middle Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Middle Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Majestic Middle Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Elevation of Around 2160 feet
Big ( Lower ) Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

There is plenty of fast water 
churning between the falls.

April 21, 2015
Little Stony Creek Whitewater
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

In many ways it is as beautiful as the main waterfalls, and following a snowy winter and wet spring it made sounds so loud on this day that you could not hear birds singing ( the one negative ).

April 21, 2015
Approximate Vertical Drop of 40 Feet
Big ( Lower ) Falls of Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Beautiful Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Beautiful Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Beautiful Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Little Stony Creek of Clinch River
Beautiful Whitewater On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Clouds increased during mid-late afternoon with 
sunlight more limited during this hike inside of Little Stony Creek Gorge.

April 21, 2015
High Knob Massif
Sunlight Illuminates Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Middle Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Focus On Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Wildflowers & Other Species
Little Stony Creek Basin & Surrounding Area

Just Emerging - Bud Scales At Top
American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The majority of trees above 3000 feet in elevation, as highlighted later, and those in cold air drainages like that of the Little Stony Creek Valley and Gorge, remain bare or have small leaves.

April 21, 2015
Dwarf Iris ( Iris verna var. smalliana )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2015
Dwarf Crested Iris ( Iris cristata ) With Visitor
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Dwarf Crested Iris In Periwinkle ( Vinca minor )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

This allows an abundance of critical light to reach the forest floor to trigger and stimulate growth of a vast array of wildflower species.

Dry Land Fish of The Mountains
Yellow Morel Mushroom ( Morchella esculenta )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

*Spring wetness seeming to aid many mushroom species as well, with "Dry Land Fish" or Morels being a much sought variety for eatin' during this time of year.

April 21, 2015
Painted Trillium Trillium undulatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2015
Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2015
Long-spurred Violet ( Viola rostrata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2015
Rue Anemone ( Thalictrum thalictroides )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 18, 2015
Foamflower ( Tiarella cordifolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2015
Golden Ragwort ( Packera spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 23, 2015
Pink Lady's SlipperCypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 23, 2015
Pink Lady's Slipper ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 23, 2015
Pink Lady's Slippers ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 26, 2015
Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 27, 2015
Wild Geranium ( Geranium maculatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
Focus On Stamens & Anthers
Gorgeous Fire Pink ( Silene virginica )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 9, 2015
Focus On Beauty
In Late Afternoon Light
Cluster of Fire Pink ( Silene virginica )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 23, 2015
An Aging Mushroom Species On Forest Floor
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 26, 2015
Nestled Amid The Plants & Leaves
Eastern Box Turtle ( Terrapene carolina carolina )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2015
Wild Azalea ( Rhododendron periclymenoides )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2015
Orange-Yellow Color Phase
Flame Azalea ( Rhododendron calendulaceum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
Yellow Color Phase
Flame Azalea ( Rhododendron calendulaceum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2015
Fleabane Daisy ( Erigeron spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2015
Morning Dew Droplets
A Fleabane Daisy ( Erigeron spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
A Fleabane Daisy ( Erigeron spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2015
Curled Up In Morning Chill & Dew
A Fleabane Daisy ( Erigeron spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 5, 2015
Bulbous Buttercup ( Ranunculus bulbosus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 7, 2015
Focus Point On Central Rain Drop
Phlox ( Phlox spp. ) Following A Rain Shower
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 7, 2015
Same Flower At Different Angle & Focus Point
Phlox ( Phlox spp. ) Following A Rain Shower
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

 May7, 2015
Focus On Front Pappus
Common Dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May7, 2015
Focus Depth Increased
Common Dandelion Taraxacum officinale )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 9, 2015
Bee Working The Disk Florets
Oxeye Daisy ( Leucanthemum vulgare )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 9, 2015
Bee Working The Disk Florets
Oxeye Daisy ( Leucanthemum vulgare )

May 9, 2015
Bee Working The Disk Florets
Oxeye Daisy ( Leucanthemum vulgare )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 9, 2015
Bee Working The Disk Florets
Oxeye Daisy ( Leucanthemum vulgare )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
A Long-Legged Fly Species With
Canada Cinquefoil ( Potentilla canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Observe the proboscis of this fly is extended onto the floral parts.

May 11, 2015
A Long-Legged Fly Species With
Canada Cinquefoil ( Potentilla canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
A Long-Legged Fly Species With
Canada Cinquefoil ( Potentilla canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
Without Fly & Sunlight
Canada Cinquefoil ( Potentilla canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
Eastern Yellow Stargrass ( Hypoxis hirsuta )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 11, 2015
Focus On Floral Structure In More Sunlight
Eastern Yellow Stargrass Hypoxis hirsuta )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 12, 2015
Red Clover ( Trifolium pratense )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 12, 2015
Blackberry ( Rubus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 15, 2015
Just Opening Up
Yellow Flag IrisIris pseudacorus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Blooms of Yellow Flag Iris tend to initially open along a vertical axis before turning along a horizontal axis when fully open and mature.

May 18, 2015
After Opening Up
Yellow Flag Iris ( Iris pseudacorus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

May 17, 2015
Blue Striped White Violet ( Viola spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 17, 2015
False Solomon Seal ( Maianthemum racemosum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2015
Cold Air Drainage of Lower Elevations
American Beech Trees Remain Mostly Bare
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Block
Trees Mostly Green In Cold Air Drainage
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2015
American Beech With Young Leaves
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
Against Spectacular Skies
Fringetree ( Chionanthus virginicus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
Against Spectacular Skies
Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

May 13, 2015
Against Spectacular Skies
Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Changes With Increasing Elevation

While it was gusty and the air cool at Bear Rock, 2000 vertical feet of elevation increase found the air cold with significant wind chills in the crest zone of the High Knob Massif.

April 21, 2015
Looking East-Southeast from High Knob Lookout
Early Spring Conditions In Crest Zone of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Differences in conditions could easily be seen by the early spring state of the northern hardwood forest, with maples and serviceberry ( sarvis ) blooming in basins holding Big Cherry Lake, 
High Knob Lake, and the Norton Reservoirs.

April 21, 2015
Southern Exposed Slope In Big Cherry Lake Basin
Looking Southwest-West from High Knob Lookout
Early Spring Conditions In Crest Zone of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015 at 7:40 PM
Looking Southeast from High Knob Lookout
Early Spring Conditions In Crest Zone of Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

April 21, 2015
Looking West from High Knob Lookout
Sunset Nears Amid Cold & Windy Conditions
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

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