You may have noticed that I've been doing a lot of solo backpacking trips this spring. But this weekend I took a break from my loner ways, and instead led the Trail Dames on the Third Annual Hike to the Pocket.
The Pocket of Pigeon Mountain is an extremely special place for wildflowers in Georgia. The setting is stunning too, with steep rock walls surrounding the valley and a clear blue-green stream and waterfall. The remote location-- lack of signage, (sometimes rough) dirt road, stream crossing-- combine to keep this place protected. Though it's several hours drive away, I've taken the time to visit the Pocket repeatedly each season for the past few years and it has always filled me with awe and wonder.
I arrived at the Pocket at dusk the night before the Dames hike, hot tired and cranky after a long drive. My mood darkened further as I walked around the short boardwalk. The plants I'd been eagerly anticipating, the Virginia bluebells and poppies, had dropped their petals and gone to seed already. All I could see was a drab, empty forest. I was horrified and mad at myself for not changing the timing of the hike to coincide with the earlier emergence and warmer temperatures this year. I thought, "What if all the Dames were disappointed and felt like I wasted their time bringing them all the way out here? What business did I have leading hikes anyway? I didn't know anything!" I contemplated canceling the hike. In retrospect, I was having a serious case crankiness and (what I later recognized was ) Imposter Syndrome.
|Faded Virginia bluebells|
|Wild blue phlox|
|Photo by Jules|
|Photo by Donna|
Please note: if you are lucky enough to visit the Pocket, please keep this place preserved for future visitors and generations by staying on the boardwalk and trails, never ever picking or trampling the flowers, and please pick up the GORP pass (which is now required) to help support this place (there is no way to get one at the site, so order it ahead of time online).