Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 8
FROM THE EDITOR
Pat and chuck Blackley
Bluets along the trail are a welcome to springtime.
Birds, Wildflowers: AgEIng In
A boy in the woods with
his parents is not thinking
about trying to call a bird or
identify a flower. No, years
must ripen to allow such
and look down at these tiny blue
What I remember is being
flowers along the side of the trail. I
in the woods, which was
did not remember that experience
fun, except that all the peountil decades later, soon after The
ple around me were at least
Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All
as old as my parents and in
and I began going into the woods
many cases much older.
to hike every weekend, becoming
I do not remember my presome on-steroids version of my
cise age, but it was less than 10.
by Kurt Rheinheimer
parents. As well as, of course, old.
What I do recall precisely is that
Gail was determined, during
every so often, one of those old
our first and a few ensuing springs,
people would put one of his or her
hands up to his or her mouth and then, on the side of a to learn all the wildflowers we saw. This was that first
loose fist, place the lips upon the roundish spot formed spring, along the connector trail between the War Spur
when you tighten your thumb and forefinger against Loop Trail parking lot and the Appalachian Trail near
Mountain Lake, Virginia, and Gail pointed out these
each other and, I figured out, suck with pursed lips.
Pretty odd behavior, I thought, making a squeaky lit- tiny blue flowers, and out of my mouth came, without
tle lips-on-flesh sucking noise when you were supposed fore-knowledge that it would, "those are bluets."
You love to impress your girl, even when it's identifyto be a grown-up. I could make lots of different noises
with my mouth and hands, or even just my mouth, but ing a wildflower. And while I have never summoned a
they all ran the risk of being told to stop that and act bird with my hands and mouth, nor any other way, we
have had memorable bird views too on those years of
What they were doing, of course, was bird-calling, hikes, perhaps most notably a male scarlet tanager that
though if you Google such these days, what you find is put on a flit-and-fly show for us one lunch on the westthe technique of putting your thumbs parallel to each ern side of Mount Pleasant, east of Buena Vista, Virginia.
This issue, the second of our year-long 30th Anniverother, putting a blade of grass between them and blowing hard, with the grass blade stretched taut between sary Celebration, presents some of the very best of the
experience of both wildflowers and birds, appreciation
Heck, I learned that trick too, also around age 10, but for which seems, yes, to deepen with age. Leonard Adthe good strong screech I produced would scare away kins' picks for his favorite Appalachian Trail wildflowers
begins on page 34. And Angela Minor's guide to great
birds for miles, or so I thought.
The other thing I remember from the woods at some- birding in great state parks starts on page 40.
where around that age was my mother making me pause