Blue Ghost Fireflies

“There’s one” I whispered, as we watched the little bluish white light up the darkness in front of us. It disappeared, and a few seconds later another appeared. Then another, and another.

The dark forest would be lit up by these little lights that flew to and fro. It really did look like we were watching fairies.

It wasn’t fairies we were watching, but the rare Blue Ghost Firefly. I grew up playing with the flashing, yellow glow of fireflies and assumed they were all the same. Not quite…. The Blue Ghost fireflies are different for a variety of reasons, but the most obvious is their bluish white light. Hence the name, Blue Ghost.

This adventure was a night time tour that was led by a Blue Ghost firefly expert whom provided entertaining and tremendously detailed information about these little creatures. Several features delineate the Blue Ghost firefly from other species; such as lights that steadily glow instead of flash in sequence and both male AND female have lights. Our guide explained that they’re mostly found in the North Carolina, Tennessee areas because the forest floor is the perfect condition; damp, but not saturated.

We spent about an hour enjoying the peaceful forest and the light show. Most everyone was quiet, even the kids, and enjoyed the opportunity to peer into a different world.

BlueGhost fireflies are mainly visible in May/June and watching them light up the forest was an experience I won’t soon forget. Nature is always amazing, day and night.

For everything you ever wanted to know about Blue Ghost fireflies but were afraid to ask, go here:
http://www2.brevard.edu/jefrick/Blue%20Ghost%20pub.pdf

World’s Edge hike

As we drove through the rolling hills dotted with apple trees and the occasional farm, the scenery did not lend itself to a hike named World’s Edge.  Usually when you’re driving to a hike named like that, the road is steep, the views are panoramic and the anticipation builds.

The paved road ended at a private property sign so we parked and walked the dirt road to the left. A little ways in, the road had a vehicle gate and a Carolina Parks sign, so we knew we were in the right place. 

Continuing on, the area still looked like a normal hike in the woods.  Unlike yesterday which was rainy and cold, today was the perfect day for a hike; deep blue, cloudless sky, warm sun, and a slight chill in the air to keep the temps perfect.

About four tenths of a mile in, the road makes a small loop to the right. This loop takes you right to the edge of a ridge. Wow!! What a view of the area!  We could look straight down and see the forest below or look out across the vast expanse and see homes, lakes, and an occasional town. The name World’s Edge made total sense now.

Here there are two options; follow a path along the ridge, or return to the road and follow the trail.  Other hikers were enjoying the ridge path so we returned the trail to see what else we’d encounter.

Even though we weren’t walking on the edge, we still enjoyed great views of the mountains to the left. I use the term ridge, but it’s not like Everest or other tall mountains were you’re straddling a drop off on both sides. This is “just” the edge of a mountain so you have plenty of space on one side. The “edge of the world” side, is where the mountain drops off

Continuing along we enjoyed the views of the mountains to our left and the beautiful cloudless day. Occasionally we’d take one of the access points to the ridge and enjoy the view again.

The final stop, for us, was a large rock outcropping that appeared to be balanced right on the edge. It was an optical illusion, but made for some fun pictures. The warm sun and expansive view made it another one of those memorable places. I am fortunate to  keep finding those places, often unexpectedly. All the more reason to keep exploring.

The total hike is about 1.5 miles round trip so it’s and is an easy one. You don’t need special gear or endurance; it’s just a nice easy walk and I’d recommend bringing a picnic lunch. Stay awhile and enjoy the view.

More details on the hike are here:  http://www.carolinamountain.org/hikingchallenge2/worldsedge

The hike is part of the famous White Squirrel Patch. You know you want one and details can be found here: http://www.carolinamountain.org/hikingchallenge2