The Place: Warriors’ Path State Park, Kingsport
The Hike: Darwin’s Revenge Trail
I got my first hiking blisters on mountain biking/hiking dual use trails in Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana, so I’m no stranger to listening for the tell-tale whirring of bikes. According to Tennessee State Park Ranger Marty Silver, who led this hike, bike trail Darwin’s Revenge is named for the revenge it takes on the cyclists. For hikers, this is a relatively easy trail. Still, you should keep your ears open for the sounds of bikes headed your way!
Any hike with Ranger Marty is guaranteed to be a good one between his wealth of knowledge and “ranger jokes,” which are basically his version of “dad jokes.”
The hike features both old and new growth forests, a variety of wildflowers and lots of fungi. Early on, we spotted some squaw cones near an oak tree. You can also spot wood sorrel and blue cohosh.
However, what was particularly exciting was Ranger Marty leading us off trail to a spot not far from the lakeshore to show us an area where Green Dragon wildflowers were blooming. It was the first time seeing these. They reminded me of Jack in the Pulpit, if you’re familiar with those flowers which can be spotted across the region.
The trail also takes you right by an area of the fungi called Dead Man’s Fingers. The spindly, blue-hued spires rise up out of the ground like a zombie rising from the grave. It was an exciting find as I had never seen this fungi before, only heard of it.
Fungi is not my strong suit, nor any of my fellow hikers that day, but one find included bright orange mushrooms growing on a log. Another hiker dubbed in “Volunteer mushrooms.”
Overall, if you’re looking for a nice shady hike with a few views, fungi and wildflowers, check out Darwin’s Revenge.