Several weeks ago, as we hiked through Jack's River to the Falls, we came across a wonderful sight. Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were all gathering at the perfect spot next to the falls. They would fly in over the fall, descend to a watering hole, then leave down the fall and along the river. It was a wonderful discovery to say the least. We left the falls to continue across the river to find a camp for the night, but the flow of endless butterflies was on our minds.
By chance, about a week later, we ended up in Tennessee miles down a forest road in Cherokee National Forest. Having discovered our initial campsite, Sylco, was abandoned (and recently destroyed by some locals) we continued on, to what turned out to be a gem. Not on our maps or navigation tools is a place called Big Frog. Several creeks meet to form a larger creek which rumbled over rocks and through the forest. As we setup camp, we commented on the butterflies all around.
All day long there was an endless stream of Eastern, Spicebush and Pipeline Swallowtails, skippers and other butterflies following the stream. They'd stop at our camp, some longer than others, to rest or chase each other around, eventually continuing on their journey. I was a wonderful addition to the sounds and peacefulness of this place.
Discoveries like these butterflies, frogs, wild edibles and hidden locations are why we travel the unbeaten path, county and forest roads.