Date: April 7, 2017
Leader: Charlotte Caplan

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It was a little too early to be called dogwood winter because the dogwood flowers, sensibly, were still tightly folded, but it was certainly cold enough. Twenty-one hardy souls drove through the snow topped mountains into Big Creek valley in the Great Smokies, where spring was announced by a carpet of yellow trilliums, and not much else.

Big Creek is lower than Cosby – around 1750 ft – but the narrow east-west valley seems to hold winter's chill for longer and the few morels we found were mostly very small, young yellows (Morchella americana). Evidently the main season has still to reach the valley floor. However a few larger yellows were found along the approach road, which gets more sunshine (location, location!). One tulip morel (Morchella diminutiva) turned up, no smaller than most of the yellows.

The total count was only 26, but the sun came out at lunchtime, the wind dropped a bit, and everyone seemed happy that they made the trip.