Walking in Beauty

Anyone who’s a gardener or a naturalist knows the Earth is a great restorer. I hadn’t forgotten this fact, but it had been a long time since I’d taken advantage of it. My too busy work and travel schedule, plus the joy of a new grandbaby, had kept me tied to the computer and on the highway (or skyway), and while it’s all been good (very good, in fact), I admit to more than a few anxious days and restless nights.

But not this weekend. After months of planning, the Upstate MN group welcomed Master Naturalists from across South Carolina to the Clemson Outdoor Lab for “Connecting People with Nature,” a conference of hikes, workshops, and speakers, as well as a big dose of fun.

For me, it was also a restoration; a chance to immerse myself in the natural world and revisit the Navajo concept of Walking in Beauty. Though more complicated than can be fully articulated here, the Navajo philosophy—Hozho–encompasses beauty, order, and harmony, and expresses the idea of striving for balance.

Who wouldn’t feel better after spending the weekend relishing these natural wonders?

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Station Cove Trail

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Station Cove Trail

Pink ladyslipper  (Cypripedium acaule), Station Cove Trail

Pink ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule), Station Cove Trail

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Station Cove Trail

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Station Cove Trail

Hiking group at Station Cove Falls: Kristina, Libby, Toni, Gwen, Judith, and our leader, Dan

Hiking group at Station Cove Falls: Kristina, Libby, Toni, Gwen, Judith, and our leader, Dan

Beauty of the lower cascade, Station Cove Falls

Beauty of the lower cascade, Station Cove Falls

Wild baptisia (B. latifolia), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Wild baptisia (B. latifolia), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Wandflower (Galax urceolata), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Wandflower (Galax urceolata), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Hearts-a-Bustin (Euonymus americanus) with unidentified insect, Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Hearts-a-Bustin (Euonymus americanus) with unidentified insect, Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Piedmont Rhododendron (R. minus), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Piedmont Rhododendron (R. minus), Yellow Branch Falls Trail

Colorful spores on Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Colorful spores on Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulates), identified by his blue chin and belly

Eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulates), identified by his blue chin and belly

A small part of the group at Yellow Branch Falls, with special thanks to leaders Ette and Bill.

A small part of the group at Yellow Branch Falls, with special thanks to leaders Ette and Bill.

Yellow Branch Falls

Yellow Branch Falls

The weather was picture perfect all weekend. And because we’ve had a good measure of rain this spring, the waterfalls were magnificent.

Both Station Cove Falls and Yellow Branch Falls are located within Sumter National Forest. The 30-minute trial to Station Cove Falls, a stepped 60-foot waterfall, is rated easy. The 60-minute trail to Yellow Branch Falls, a 50-foot tall and 75-feet wide cascade, crosses Yellow Branch Creek three times and is rated moderate. More information about these trails, and many others, can be obtained from the SC State Trails Program.

12 thoughts on “Walking in Beauty

  1. Marilyn Brown

    Dan is a great master naturalist. I have been on two hikes with him upstate, even though I live in Columbia. These are absolutely beautiful pictures.

    ________________________________

    Reply
  2. Elaine

    Marian, you captured the peace and joy of walking on this trail and taking the beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing. I could almost feel the peacefulness.
    Elaine

    Reply
  3. Jerry

    Glad you had a good time at the conference, Marian. Wish I could have been there but had a previously scheduled out-of-town commitment. Hope some of our class of 2007 UMNA friends were there.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jerry–Sorry you couldn’t make it but I see on Facebook you’ve enjoyed a number of excellent hikes this spring. One day you’ll have to take me to see the yellow ladyslipper!

      Reply
  4. Deen Meloro

    Every time I read an article you have written, you have given me something to think about and I feel more peaceful. Thank you for that.

    Reply
  5. Pauline

    What a fantastic walk you had with a superb waterfall to sit beside, that really took my breath away. Walking always takes so much longer when you are looking for flowers at the same time, you saw a nice selection.
    Thanks for leaving a message on my blog, it was nice to hear from you.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pauline–You are right! We took our sweet time, nearly 3 hours, to walk to the falls because we were looking at the flora. We were hungry for lunch on the return, so the same distance only took an hour!

      Reply

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