Nature Blog#10

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Backwoods Nature Blogging

Nature Lovers Paradise by Doreyl Ammons Cain

     One step onto Nature's Home land and you'll feel the undisturbed course of nature. Founded as a true Nature Preserve in 2000, the land is protected and preserved. Located across from Bear Lake in the Little Canada area of Jackson County, this ridge property has lovely views of the lake and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Nature's Home hiking trails have resting spots for contemplation of the many varieties of wildflowers and Eastern Forest trees. Mountain Laurel borders the hiking trails which lead you through old growth Oaks and Poplar trees.

     At the crest of the land lies Moonshine Gap, an open area with a large fire ring and fish ponds. It is believed that the Cherokee once camped here. The nature trails that branch off from Moonshine Gap offer stunning views of Bear Lake and in some cases, 360 degree scenic vistas.

     The entryway to Nature's Home features prehistoric-type stone paintings that reflect some of the history of the land. With Native American legends and tales about the settlers that crossed the land by covered wagon, the land has a special story that surrounds it.

     Nature's beauty remains the most valuable commodity at Nature's Home, truly a Nature Lover's Paradise. You'll feel like an eagle atop Foster Knob, nestled close to Nature's Home High Poplar Trail. This site sits away from road noise with only the sounds of birds and other creatures of the woods. Through Poplar, Oak and Balsam trees you'll view the Blue Ridge Mountains and diamond sparked Bear Lake.

     The entrance to the High Poplar goes past rock murals up a four wheel drive gravel road bordered by wildflowers and Southeastern Forest evergreens & hardwood trees. As you travel up the sunny side of Foster Knob you'll experience hundreds of varieties of ferns, mushrooms and understory shrubs & plants like Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, blackberries and blueberries. In the spring Flaming Azalea, Dogwood blossoms and Trillium dot the mountain side. Below, on the north side, is Cedar Creek Valley near Cedar Creek Lake and on the south side is Nature's Home Moonshine Gap, a grassy hollow and a spring water stream.

     The High Poplar Trail meanders near this site, traveling all the way up to Cedar Cliff for a panoramic view of Bear Lake. Legends about Cedar Cliff tell of Native American Shaman who prayed for their people and the earth on this precipice.

     Just over from Moonshine Gap a country road moves past mountain spring branches to the Tree House site. Facing Bear Lake, a distant view of blue mountains and the shore of Bear Lake peeps through. Once deemed the perfect site for a tree house, this acreage has many old growth trees. With a rocky cliff behind , a hollow in front and a clear spring water creek to the side.

     Standing on the slightly sloping ridge near the middle of the acreage you see a sea of green ferns all around and throughout the hollow below. As your eyes move up, blue mountains behind green limbs rest above the bluer reflections of Bear Lake. On the right side a grove of Rhododendron covers the stream with pink blossoms and as you gaze to the left old growth threes stand tall and firm in the earth.

     The entrance to the property comes off the gravel road and continues up a tree canopied forest road. A right turn off the forest road puts you on a private drive into the acreage. Below the drive four spring water streams empty into one stream which flows down the entire nature preserve. There are areas near rocky slopes, around old growth trees or atop the ridge, all creating a private paradise. The culmination of all the spring water streams on Nature's Home Preserve flow through the Spring Box site. Just over from the stream an ancient spring box dating from the 1800's lies under the gnarly roots of a towering oak tree. As you walk up the trail through the trees and understory flowering foliage large green covered rock formations stimulate the imagination. Openings under the boulders appear to be fairy castles, offering a touch of magic in the mountain air. Sunlight spots the wildflowers and trees making nature's own color kaleidoscope. Through the branches of trees you see layers of mountain ranges and a view of crystal clear Bear Lake. A tiny sail boat skims by, throwing ripples in the water. Behind and to the left a tree covered mountain side protects this area and to the right flows the spring water creek. Most of all, nature has sprinkled a little magic over this land. It's worth the time to take a walk through the backwoods, you never know what can surprise you!

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