Quick River Walk

Posted By on November 30, 2020

Quick River Walk

4.18 miles; 422 feet total ascent; Asheville, NC

Sometimes I’m just not feeling it when it comes to hiking in the woods. On the other hand, sometimes I just gotta get out and walk someplace, anyplace. Today I decided to do a walk along the banks of the French Broad River. The river runs north-south through my part of Asheville, so my route took me south along the west bank along a non-city-approved dirt trail fairly densely inhabited by homeless encampments (though they’re not on the trail, they’re off the trail), and back north along the freshly-constructed paved walking trail and bike path on the east bank of the river.

Pretty Day on the River

You can’t see them from this shot, but there’re a bunch of tents set up below here on the banks of the river. You can actually see them better this time of year from the other bank.

Chinese Silver Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

There is tons of this stuff all over this area, and I mean entire massive hillsides of it north of Asheville. It’s breathtakingly lovely in the long rays of winter afternoon sunlight, but it’s also wicked invasive. It’s a fast-growing species that forms thick bunches, displacing native plant communities, and the dense, dry stands are highly flammable and create fire hazards. It also reduces light availability to other plants at the soil surface and decomposes slowly on the ground, limiting the amount of nutrients returned to the soil. So, pretty but nasty. Like some people I’ve known, come to think of it.

Red Brambles

Red foliage really stands out this time of year, and these blackberry bushes were no exception.

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

And gosh, it looks like I stopped my wildflower posts too soon! Besides this little stand of Cornflower, I also saw some sort of yellow-flowered member of the brassica family. Couldn’t ID it better than that. But wildflowers! On November 30th!

Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)

And then there was this dude. He was inching along the curb at a good pace, and quite large—probably close to 3-inches long, which makes sense because the adult of this species is called Giant Leopard Moth.

Talking Tank

On my last leg before heading back up the hill to my house, I noticed that the message on the water tank has changed again. First time I saw it it said “Stay Weird.” Then, as the pandemic lock-down began, it said “Stay Home,” followed a few weeks later by “Stay Safe.”  It’s painted by muralists Ian Wilkinson and Ishmael, and it’s said other things, apparently, before I got to Asheville. You should go look at their website.

Lastly, no map or track posted of this walk, as it starts and ends at my house. But you can read about the French Broad River Greenway Park and the other greenways at this City of Asheville link.

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