Deer Lake Lodge/Wolf Branch Loop

Posted By on October 26, 2020

Deer Lake Lodge/Wolf Branch Loop

5.78 miles; 374 ft. ascent; Asheville, NC

This was a beautiful little hike (under 6 miles for a change) with not a lot of elevation and in the woods almost entirely. It was more reminiscent of hiking in Arcadia. There was a small stretch of boring forest road—I’ve grown to dislike those roads—and much more just a pleasant woodland trail. Lotta mountain bikers though. Really had to keep my ears peeled for the sound of approaching mountain bikes. Still, very nice hike.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

Not much still blooming here in Western North Carolina, but there’s a lot of fungus still around. This particular mushroom is used in Chinese medicine as an immune system booster. Hm.

False Turkey Tail (Stereum ostrea)

These two photos were taken on adjacent logs. Wonder what about them caused them to be colonized by different fungi? Mystery!

Old Timey Trail Work

This is some real old timey trail work here! Logs incised for traction across the trail with more log sections sunk on end. Very cool stuff.

Closed Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)

And just when I’d decided I wasn’t going to see anything else in bloom, what pops into view but this Closed Bottle Gentian! Passed through a beautiful little patch of these.

Wolf Branch Bridge

Another pleasant surprise was the presence of several actual bridges. I had pretty much given up on seeing anything resembling a bridge here, but this was no make-shift affair crossing Wolf Branch.

Sterling Hayden as Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove

By the way, the word “branch” for my northern friends is another term for creek or brook. It always makes me think of General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove who drinks nothing but “pure grain alcohol and branch water” to preserve his “precious bodily fluids.”

Fan Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum)

As always, science is always bloody changing its mind about things. This used to be a Lycopodium but has been reclassified as Diphasiastrum. Still, I found some interesting facts about this plant. The spores are known as Lycopodium powder, and are used as a flash powder. See this Wikipedia page for more info if you’re interested.

You can find out more about the Deer Lake Lodge trail on this US Forest Service website. You can find out more about the Wolf Branch trail from this other US Forest Service website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.



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