by Laurie Hammons, Education Co-Director
Watercolorists are often nature lovers, so I wanted to share the vacation my husband and I took last April to the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. The Pilgrimage has been taking place for 70 years; it is organized by a group of wildflower lovers, with many guided hikes over four days: mornings, afternoons, and full-day hikes – even a few in the evenings. The hikes (of about 30 people each) are led by local experts, such as botanists from local universities. 950 people attended the 2019 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage!
I didn’t know what to expect when we signed up. I just knew I wanted to see a lot of wildflowers. It turns out most attendees are really interested in seeing unique and rare flowers, and before long we were just as excited to spot a new variety. In all, we recorded about 170 varieties of flowers, including some plants and trees, too. It was so much fun – I made a Shutterfly book to record the plants we saw.
If you are interested in making your own trip to the Wildflower Pilgrimage, you can find information at their website: http://www.wildflowerpilgrimage.org. Registration opens this year on February 24, and some of the hikes fill up quickly.
There are hotels just outside the park in Gatlinburg. You will need a car to get around the park; each hike starts at a different trail head. If you have any questions for me, please send an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.