Spring on Clinch Mountain

Today, I took a walk on the wild side… the wild mushroom side, that is… Under the close supervision of my guide (and dad), Steve Minton, we went deep into the hollows of Clinch Mountain.  Although the mushrooms were in short supply, there was no shortage of sheer, springtime beauty.  The blooming trees are just starting, so the experience will last another week or so… the ferns are unfolding and the leaves are putting out… but more than the sights, there are the sounds and smells that make it, really and truly, springtime in the Mountains.  The brooks and creeks, thanks to the recent rains, were bubbling and laughing, teasing the rocks and the moss like a child with energy to spare…
The birds sang and the wind rustled through the budding leaves and still bare limbs making a sound, when mixed with the rushing water, that is indescribable and one of my greatest pleasures.  While the trail was steep and bumpy, the driver was an exceptional one and handled the Ranger like a true professional.  Myself, who is usually walking because I have some weird fear, rode with confidence and had a thoroughly wonderful day.  It wasn’t long after we’d stopped that Sophie announced her first find.  I wound myself around to where she and dad had gone.  It was then I heard him announce that there was a terrapin…  he stuck his head out for a moment, but soon decided he’d just soon be left alone…
Sophie decided she wanted to walk with me awhile so we started looking around.  She is eagle-eyes when it comes to mushrooms.  Though we only found a handful, she spotted every one of them.
The morel mushroom is called by many in Southwest Virginia the “dry land fish” partly, I suppose, to the fish-like taste of fried morels.  It is unusual for sure, and not easy to find.  But once you find a place they grow, you keep your mouth shut about it.  Least that’s what I was told by the guide.  Not long after, Sophie decided that she had seen enough mushrooms, had enough bug-bites and wanted to get in the cool… so we started down..  Not far into the descent, there were some ferns, just unfolding… one of the many small miracles of nature and one of my all-time favorite spring sights…

The descent ended in the pond field where we found and army of frogs all around the pond.  Since my zoom lens is temporarily disabled, I had to get really close.  Prayed that they wouldn’t jump on me, so I was pretty confident.  There were both disgustingly gross and unerringly fascinating… odd

The tour ended back at the farmhouse.  It seems that one of the most beautiful things was right here in the dooryard… my Mother’s garden…
All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.  I learned so much more with dad, um, I mean, the guide, than I could have possibly figured out for myself.  Thanks, Dad, for being willing to teach an old dog new tricks…

One response to “Spring on Clinch Mountain

  1. >Beutiful words and as always your pics didn't disappoint. Write on my Phriend!

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