Appalachian Flora

Great Smoky Mountain National Park; or preaching to the choir...

Rushing stream in the Smokies.

In my personal opinion, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most fascinating places on Earth. I have been there more times than I can recall and learned many things each time I went. I learned about the rocks, the animals, about the different types of flowers and trees, and I learned about the people who once called this area home. I learned that after a hip replacement surgery, I could walk all the way up to the Mount LeConte lookout. I was tired, but I had done it! At times it was like a home away from home.



Depending on who you talk to, ramps are either the world’s most noxious, disgusting smelling plants or the nectar of the gods.

I was first introduced to ramps when my family was invited up to Tellico Plains one spring by a dear friend, Verlin. Every year, Verlin and his wife made this a family reunion, and friends were considered family. Several days before the Saturday festivities, he would go up the Cherohala Skyway, at least as far as it was completed at the time. Parking by the side of the road, he’d go down into the hollers and find ramps.