I wanted to return to the River Bluff Trail, up near Norris Dam, but this time, I wanted to arrive in time to view the wildflowers. Last time I had gone, I had gotten there too late to view the wildflowers in bloom. This time, it was late March when I headed out on a chilly spring morning, and I fully expected to see at least a few flowers starting to come up.
However, it didn't feel like spring, because it was much colder than I would have expected. The temperature had dipped down into the upper 30s as I took off, and I made sure to wear layers and gloves. As I drove into the parking lot, it was a bit surreal. Here it was, early spring, and the trees made it look like winter was still in force. No leaves to speak of on the deciduous trees; barely even a bud. The only exceptions I saw were a few splashes of color from some redbuds across the river. Based on this, I felt my chances of seeing wildflowers were low.
I chose the upper part of the loop to start off, and I certainly felt like I was taking a nice solitary winter hike. By the time I got to where the loop started to head back the other way along the river, I saw a few other hikers. And I saw a few wildflowers; a sparse spray of purple phlox turned up beside the path.
As I was taking a few pictures, one man, hiking along with his dog, let me know that all of the wildflowers were just around the corner. And he was right. Along the path was more phlox, some Dutchman's Breeches, and the buds from some trillium that would be blooming soon. There were others, as well. I spent much time taking pictures of all these blooms.
After all that, I found a bench that faces the river and spent some time reading. While I was there, I had the opportunity to admire the waterfowl. A flock of geese flew in and spent much time swimming and chasing each other through the air. And once, I looked up and saw a heron soaring through the air downriver. It was quite stunning, seeing such a large bird gliding by so gracefully. A nice end to the day, as I packed up my book and finished the trail.