Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 5, 2011 - Medicinal Plants Hike with Darryl Patton

Today's hike was down into and back out of Little River Canyon near Fort Payne, Alabama. The hike was lead by Darryl Patton, an ND as well as a Master Herbalist with over 25 years experience with the plants in our area. Before taking the Eberhart trail down into the canyon we walked the new boardwalk at the Little River Canyon parking area and also made a stop at the Lynn Point overlook.

Darryl explaining the connection between sweet gum and tamiflu.
We were encouraged to take notes and Chandler took this to heart, filling up a few pages in her notebook of information on the plants we encountered. This was useful for the adults when it came time to write our blog entries...

This is crossvine that Darryl pointed out to us at the overlook. Apparently, I need to swap this out for my energy drinks. He described it as "better than ginseng" when it comes to getting your metabolism up.

Here, Darryl explains the antibacterial properties of raindeer moss. Soaked with hot water, this can be applied directly to a wound.

This is a plantain (not to be confused with the banana-like plantain). From all accounts I should keep this handy for the next time I wander into poison oak.

It was a great day to be in the canyon, for the leaves alone. The hike and the information were a huge bonus.

Darryl delivering more wisdom.

Here we learned about wild lettuce the sticky natural latex in the leaves and the "opium-like" effects of its ingestion. Recommend as a sleep aid.

The hike was very informative and I don't have the room here to detail every single species that Darryl pointed to and gave us a litany of uses for. I've placed some of these links in the text above, but here's additional information about Darryl and his books:

Darryl's website:
The Wikipedia article on his mentor, Tommie Bass:


After the participants in the hike disbanded and went our separate ways, we visited the nearby Welsh Caves near Mentone and Desoto Falls. The kids followed me via belly-crawl into the farthest room of the caves. Esther and I camped here in the early 90's together so this is a special spot for us. The four of us emerged covered in the fine dirt of the cave floor.

A little further away from the final room, I manage to fit all of them (including Esther) in one shot. The cave is a great spot for sitting and lounging.

Esther, scaling the near-vertical path back out of the caves like the mountain-lion-woman she is.

We also hopped around on the boulders at Desoto State Park.

Gallery of images here.
The tracklog of the hike here.

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