Meeting Time: 7:30 PM
Meeting Place: Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area parking lot
Hike Distance: 1 mile
Estimated Event Time: 90 minutes
Hike Leader: Jason
So you think night hiking is a bit spooky, huh? What about a night hike on Friday the 13th? Under a full moon? In the wild and mysterious cedar glades? Don't be skeered -- together we can do this!
The official full moon is June 12 at 11:01 p.m, so we should get a good view of the moon tonight, weather permitting. We'll hopefully see a few rare glade wildflowers during daylight , hear some unusual birds at dusk, take in a sunset from a scenic prairie, and then catch the rays of the full moon as we listen to the creatures of the night.
This is an opportunity to visit one of Tennessee's most unique ecosystems: the Couchville Cedar Glade. This desert-like area is home to several rare and endangered plants, including Tennessee Coneflower and Leafy Prairie Clover. Some other uncommon wildflowers along this trail include Gattinger's Lobelia, Limestone Fameflower, Tennessee Milk Vetch, Prairie Onion, Golden St. Johnswort, Nashville Breadroot, and Gattinger's Prairie Clover. This glade also features Tennessee's only native cactus: the Prickly Pear.
In addition to searching for wildflowers, we'll discuss the ecology of the cedar glade and what makes it so unique. As darkness nears, we'll be keeping an eye out for one of Couchville Cedar Glade's most unusual residents: the Common Nighthawk. We'll also hopefully hear two other members of the "nightjar" bird family: the Whippoorwill and Chuck-Will's-Widow.
The prairie area at Couchville Cedar Glade features one of the more beautiful sunset viewing locations around Long Hunter State Park .
After the sun goes down, we'll hang out in the prairie and enjoy the lightning bugs, the night sounds, the evening sky, and hopefully the full moon. We occasionally hear frogs, owls, coyotes, and other creatures of the night in this area.
Keep in mind that this will not be a fast-paced hike; we will be meandering and stopping frequently for nature interpretation, exploration and photo opportunities. Feel free to ask questions about anything you see during the walk.
No pets, please. Kids are welcome.
Don't forget insect repellent, water and your camera. Flashlights or some type of small light source are recommended, although we'll try to avoid using them unless necessary.
Directions to Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area:
From Nashville, take I-40 East to Mt. Juliet Road (Exit 226-A). Go south (right) for about 5 miles, then turn left on South Mt. Juliet Road as if you are going to Bryant Grove Recreation Area. (There will be a sign with arrows pointing toward Bryant Grove Recreation Area and the Mountain Bike Trail.) Go about a half-mile on South Mt. Juliet Road and look for Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area (and the small gravel parking lot) on the right.
Or, take I-24 east to Old Hickory Boulevard (Exit 62). Go north (left) on SR-171 for about 8 miles, then turn right on South Mt. Juliet Road as if you are going to the Bryant Grove Recreation Area. (There will be a sign with arrows pointing toward Bryant Grove Recreation Area and the Mountain Bike Trail.) Go about a half-mile on South Mt. Juliet Road and look for Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area (and the small gravel parking lot) on the right.
Although Couchville Cedar Glade State Natural Area doesn't have a street address, the closest "official" address is 6069 S. Mt. Juliet Rd., Hermitage, TN 37076. The driveway for this address is approximately 50 feet past the Couchville Cedar Glade parking lot.
You can find a map of Couchville Cedar Glade here: http://www.tn.gov/environment/na/natareas/couchville/couchville.pdf
For further directions or park information, call the park office at[masked]-2422.