VNPS Extended Field Trips 2018

This year VNPS is planning two extended field trips for your wildflower viewing. Sign up for a heavenly week-long excursion – either in April, for a trip to the Great Smokies; or in June for a trip to Virginia’s Balsam Mountains. Scroll down to see details for both.

April 8-14, 2018
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This trip will include five days of walks to such past favorites as Middle Prong, Porters Creek, and Chimneys Picnic Area. Besides beautiful spring ephemerals, the trip will include extraordinary waterfalls and raging rivers as well as beautiful vistas. Botanical treats include at least 5 species of trillium and acres of phacelia. Some areas are so dense in floral beauty that one cannot step off the trail and not step on a wildflower. The trip will be coordinated by Sally Anderson.

The trip cost is $635 (double occupancy) or $850 (single occupancy) and includes lodging, breakfast and lunch, and a donation of $250 to VNPS. If you have a room-mate let us know who you want to room with; otherwise rooms will be assigned. Lodging will be at the Le Conte View Motor Hotel in Gatlinburg. The rooms include breakfast and have refrigerators and there is off street parking. The rooms are non-smoking and no pets are permitted. Dinners are on your own.

The days will be long, but the walking is easy to moderate and we will keep a slow pace. Participants should be able to walk 4 miles on trail. Most hikes are out and back and can be shortened. Some trails will be steep or may require walking over rocks and uneven terrain. Birding is always good so bring binoculars. Showers spring up unannounced, so rain gear is important. Carpooling will be mandatory for field trips.

A deposits of $200 will hold your place, and should be sent in no later than February 9, 2018. There is a limit of 18 participants.

ONLINE REGISTRATION WILL OPEN MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5

Send payments to the VNPS, Smoky Mt. Trip

400 Blandy Farm Lane, Unit 2

Boyce, VA 22620.

Make checks out to VNPS.

Those who want to use a charge card should call Karen York at (540) 837-1600. If you have further questions contact Karen.

The final payment is due to Karen York by March 9, 2018.

June 10-16, 2018
Southwest Virginia’s Balsam Mountains

This six-day field trip will be focused on the ecosystems and flora of the Balsam Mountains, Virginia’s highest-elevation landscape, located on the southern Blue Ridge in Grayson, Smyth, and Washington counties. Attaining elevations well over 5,000 ft on Mount Rogers, Whitetop, and several other peaks of the Grayson Highlands area, the Balsams support Virginia’s largest stands of northern hardwood and red spruce forests, and the state’s only stand of Fraser Fir forest. Other globally and state rare natural communities, including high-elevation cove forests, seeps, bogs, balds, and boulderfields, contribute to a rich and diverse flora with more than 50 rare plant populations and species of both northern-boreal regions and the Southern Appalachians. The fauna of the area is no less impressive, with a wealth of northern breeding birds, Carolina northern flying squirrels, narrowly endemic salamanders, and rare invertebrates.  Mosses, liverworts, fungi, and lichens also abound in the cool, moist climate.Trip co-leaders will be Gary Fleming, senior vegetation ecologist with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, and Mary Jane Epps, Assistant Professor of Biology at Mary Baldwin University.  Gary has more than 35 years of experience in the field inventory and study of Virginia’s natural communities and flora, while Mary Jane brings a unique interdisciplinary expertise that focuses on the interaction of plants, fungi, and insects. 
 
The trip cost will be $815 (double occupancy) or $1125 (single occupancy) and includes lodging, breakfast and lunch, and a donation that will be shared by VNPS and organizations of the leaders’ choice. Check out will be on Saturday morning, and the Saturday field trip will be on the way home; lunch will still be provided. Lodging will be in Abingdon at the Quality Inn and Suites. Breakfast is included and the rooms have refrigerators. Please let us know if you have a roommate; otherwise one will be assigned. The motel is non-smoking and no pets are allowed. Dinner is on your own.
 
Field days will be long, but the walking is easy to moderate and we will keep a slow pace. Some trails will be steep or may require walking over rocks and uneven terrain. Participants should be able to walk 4 miles on trail. Binoculars and rain gear are highly recommended. Carpooling will be organized each day, since travel time to the hikes will be long. 
 
A deposits of $200 will hold your place, and should be sent in no later than March 30, 2018. There is a limit of 18 participants.
ONLINE REGISTRATION WILL OPEN MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Send payments to the VNPS, SWVA Trip
Make checks out to VNPS.
Those who want to use a charge card should call Karen York at (540) 837-1600. If you have further questions contact Karen.
The final payment is due to Karen York by May 11, 2018