We ambled down Overall Run Trail and turned left onto the Beecher/Overall Connecting Trail. The connector goes on for 1.4 miles until you reach the Beecher Ridge trailhead. Beecher Ridge Trail itself is not that special. The Heiskell Hollow Trail loop option is far more interesting (but also 3 miles longer). Beecher Ridge is an ordinary forest with not many tall trees/open areas. Some sections of the trail are quite bushy. In comparison, Heiskell Hollow offers open forest scenery, hills going up and down, and some creek crossings.
Connecting to Tuscarora-Overall Run Trail via Mathews Arm Trail for 0.4 miles, we then hiked downhill. There are several waterfalls along the way, but they are relatively dry at this time of year. A rocky open area and outcrop overlooking the tallest waterfall is a popular place for people to gather. My husband and I, preferring not to sit with the crowd, kept walking for about 20 minutes and had lunch at a camp area that overlooks part of the valley. Unfortunately, you can’t see the waterfall from there, but it is a nice quiet place to relax.
Creeping Bush Clover
Creeping Bush Clover, or Lespedeza repens, is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) and blooms May to September. This creeping plant with trailing stems favors open woods, clearings, and thickets. It is native to North America and can be found all throughout the eastern and central U.S.
We saw this white and pink Creeping Bush Clover along Beecher Ridge. Apparently this wildflower comes in different colors – more common is the pink version, which I’ve seen often around Shenandoah National Park, and which I covered in my Jeremy’s Run post.
Smooth Small-leaf Ticktrefoil
Smooth Small-leaf Ticktrefoil, Maryland Tick-trefoil, or Desmodium marilandicum, is a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) and blooms mid-summer to mid-fall. Native to Eastern North America, Smooth Small-leaf Ticktrefoil attracts various pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Hairy Leafcup, Bear’s Foot, Yellow Leafcup, Uvedalia, or Smallanthus uvedalius (previously Polymnia uvedalia) is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and blooms July to September. Native to eastern and southeastern North America, it grows in lightly shaded to open woodlands, thickets, and fields. It is also an excellent nectar/pollen plant and is visited by many species of bees and wasps.
Chicory, or Chicorium intybus, is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae) and blooms July to October. Native to Europe, it now grows throughout North America. Most often you can see it in pastures and on roadsides.
The white Chicory is a rare variety of the common blue wildflower (see previous post).
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
The Spotted Cucumber Beetle, or Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi, is a major agricultural pest in North America. The spotted variety feeds on over 200 different types of crops.
I captured this photo of the beetle…doesn’t it look a bit like Darth Vader? I couldn’t see that in person – macro lenses really do show you a whole new world.
Heading back along Tuscarora-Overall Run Trail and Thompson Hollow Trail was about the same as before. The hill is quite steep and rocky with pebbles that are easy to slip on, so you’ll want to be careful. This Tuscarora-Overall Run & Beecher Ridge loop trail was a solid hike, and a more manageable distance than the loop with Heiskell Hollow Trail, but we enjoyed the latter more.