Groundhog Day Hike at Steele Creek Park
Steele Creek Park in Bristol, Tennessee Has A Lot To Offer
T and I visited Steele Creek Park in Bristol TN to take part in a guided hike for Groundhogs Day. We had an amazing time and we learned so much!
We started out the hike looking for tracks and T proved he has quite the eye for them. We discovered raccoon and deer tracks right away!
We walked around finding many traces of wildlife and even some holes in the ground that the geese had created. Steele Creek Park has no shortage of Geese! We also found some adorable birds called Coots! Learn more about American Coots here!
As we hiked beside the water at Steele Creek Park the sun started to fall but we were just getting started. We came across this tree with the tell-tale signs of yellow-bellied sapsuckers! They had feasted! You can see all the shallow holes where these adorable woodpeckers had enjoyed the sugary sap.
We also saw signs of Spring! These bright red blooms are coming from a red maple! It’s hard to believe that Spring has begun already but it surely is a welcome sight! Learn more about Red Maple Trees here!
Soon we came to this towering Sycamore Tree! These trees can grow up to one hundred feet and live up to 500 years!
The seed balls on Sycamore trees look like this! Once separated they become like tiny helicopters that transport the seeds far from the parent tree. They can even float!
A fun fact about the Sycamore Tree is that one old sycamore tree provided protection for the large troops of General Washington during the battle at the Brandywine Battlefield Park in Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Ever since sycamore tree is a symbol of hope and protection in the USA. To learn more fun facts about the Sycamore Tree check out this site – www.softschools.com
Then we came across this plant and our guide, Rod explained that it is actually not a plant at all but rather a Lichen. His explanation was very informed but a little hard for me to explain so let me refer to Wikipedia .
[su_quote cite=”Wikipedia” url=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichen”]A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae and/or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship. The combined life form has properties that are very different from the properties of its component organisms. Lichens come in many colors, sizes, and forms. The properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants. Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose), flat leaf-like structures (foliose), flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint (crustose), or other growth forms. A macro lichen is a lichen that is either bush-like or leafy; all other lichens are termed microlichens. Here, “macro” and “micro” do not refer to size, but to the growth form. Common names for lichens may contain the word “moss” (e.g., “Reindeer moss”, “Iceland moss”), and lichens may superficially look like and grow with mosses, but lichens are not related to mosses or any plant.:3 Lichens do not have roots that absorb water and nutrients as plants do:2 but like plants, they produce their own food by photosynthesis using solar energy, from carbon dioxide, water, and minerals in their environment. When they grow on plants, they do not live as parasites but instead use the plants as a substrate.[/su_quote]
We also discovered Privet Berries growing along the water’s edge at Steele Creek Park. The birds seemed to enjoy them very much and they were so pretty! Look at these beauties but don’t taste! They are poisonous to humans! These are not native to the area and no one seems to know exactly how these plants got here. These Privet Berries would be more at home in Europe or North Africa but they seem to be doing fine here in America.
By now the sun had almost set so we hurried back to the lodge for some warm apple cider and cookies. We visited awhile with some wonderful new friends we made along the hike and then it was time to go home. We both we were looking forward to going back.
T and I always enjoy our trips to Steele Creek Park in Bristol. If you haven’t been we recommend you check it out! Here are some of the many things you can enjoy at this 2,200-acre park.
- 20 picnic tables throughout the park
- 52-acre lake
- large multi-use field with soccer goals
- 9 hole disc golf course
- exercise trails and stations
- swing set
- horseshoe pit
- paddle boat rentals
- walking/hiking/biking trails
- Nature Center
- Steele Creek Express
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Wishing you blessings,
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