Hiking Images Header Image
Site Detail

Paul Sherman


Thumbnail images are licensed:

CC Attribution

Full-size images are licensed:

CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

Many plants and animals appearing here are also available (usually downscaled versions) at my wpclipart site, where I release them into the Public Domain.


The photos I take are of Southern Appalachia, specifically the Smokey Mountain region. According to the National Park Service the Smokies "have the most biological diversity of any area in the world's temperate zone." See NPS site about Smokies. Parts of the Smokies in Eastern Tennessee and North Carolina are temperate rain forest.

North American Beaver

Castor canadensis

I had spied a large beaver swimming about a couple evenings in the dammed-up "turtle pond." The second night it smacked its tail very loudly each time it dove in the water... turns out this was its way of warning other beavers of possible danger. I found its lodge alongside the flooded pond with the underwater entrance between the roots of three medium-sized tree trunks.

Next day was unusually warm for early January and I spotted the beaver crossing the pond, with a nice-sized branch in tow, headed for its lodge. I ran behind the lodge to get this shot of the hard-working rodent making its way home to store its bark-covered morsel.

A few facts:
  • live up to 24 years in the wild

  • herbivores (eat no fish or meat)

  • eat tree bark and the cambium (soft tissue under the bark of a tree) as well as leave and twigs.

  • I most often see them eating cattails... the tubers seem to be their favorite food, at least in the pond where I have been observing them.

  • skin flaps behind teeth, so they can drag sticks without swallowing water

  • mate for life

  • drag sticks under water to preserve for colder weather

Photographed 01/05/2012

Public Domain version available at WPClipart

Virginia Opossum

Didelphis virginiana

Quiet day in the fall, I was hiking from Devil's Fork Gap to Lick Rock, the foilage mostly dropped and I saw no one else on the trail all day. Around the middle of the afternoon I heard little footsteps up ahead and caught sight of a smallish opossum peeking back at me... he hustled forward, I started walking fast to catch up, and he decided to climb up this tiny little tree (about as tall as I am.)

Guess I didn't scare him enough to play dead :)

Photographed 11/06/2011

Public Domain version available at WPClipart

Black Bear Cubs

Doing a bit of off-trail climbing from the Rattlesnake Trail trying to reach a rocky knoll. I was cutting through some thick scrub when I saw something furry just a few steps in front of me, and when ( a second or two later) I realized it was a bear cub -- I backed up then trotted very quickly back down to the trail.

(Figuring that getting between Mom and her cubs might not be a good place for me.)

But once back on the trail I heard/smelled/saw nothing, so after catching my breath I SLOWLY made my way back up to take a picture. Keeping my eyes, nose and ears alert for any sign of mama bear. Luckily she must have been quite a ways off foraging, for I managed to quickly take a picture and scurry off before I was detected.

One last fact... if you look closely, you may notice that the cubs eyes are blue. Much like many human babies, a black bear cub is born with blue eyes, but later turn brown at about a year of age.

Photographed 03/20/2011

Red Spotted Newt

This salamander starts out its life as a tadpole. During its forest-living stage (shown), it is also known as a "red eft." After two or three years it returns to the water, turning a dull green and living as many as a dozen more years.

Photographed this one on 05/20/2010.

Sweet Bee on Forget-Me-Nots

This was taken on a stoney island that has a clump of Forget-Me-Nots, this is in North Indian Creek along the Erwin Linear Trail. The Sweet Bee (Halictidae) has that cool, metallic color.

Photographed this one on 05/02/2010.

Eastern Fence Lizard

Sceloporus undulatus

Photographed early in April on the Appalachian Trail, just south of Erwin by a rocky ridge. It was sunny, upper 70s and though the ground was damp and cool the rocks were warm and this fella was slow to spook, as he must have been warming himself on the rocks.

We both took the time to give each other a good looking-over.


Rana catesbeiana

Big frog, loud croak -- every boy in the Eastern US can identify a bullfrog. Interesting facts: it will eat just about anything it can stuff into it's mouth. They can be tadpoles for up to two years before turning into adult frogs.

Eastern Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina

This is likely a female (males usually have redder eyes) They can live over 80 years in the wild. They have a distinctive high-domed shell and the shell on its belly (plastron) is hinged, allowing total shell closure. They eat worms, slugs, fruit, berries, mushrooms, insects, dead things -- almost anything.

This lady was, for some reason, climbing the rocks alongside a railroad track that crosses the Appalachian Trail. I guess she didn't realize what an obstacle the rails would actually be...

For more information visit the Eastern Box Turtle page at Davidson University.

Yawning Turtle

Sunny, hot afternoon. Soaking up the rays on a log. Spotted him in "turtle pond." along the Erwin Linear Trail.

From the bridge, if you creep up slow enough, the turtles sometimes don't bother to slide back into the water.

Woodland Snail (Queen Crater Snail)

Appalachina chilhoweensis

Large terrestrial snail, native to Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Great Spangled Fritillary, Swallowtail......

Ducks, Blue Heron, White Egret, Green Heron...

Timber Rattlesnake, Black Rat Snake...

Attacking ants, grasshoppers...

Related Sites

Tennessee Wildflowers
Kris Light has a wonderful site full of pictures and information. Her site has helped me ID several flowers.
TN Wildflowers

Appalachian Treks
Mark Peacock has some great pictures and info on trails around my area of Eastern Tennessee.
App. Treks

Hiking Bill
Sort of an online tour guide to S. Appalachian hiking trails, by someone who obviously loves to hike.
Hiking Bill

TN Wildflower Gallery
These pages on by Cheryl Hiers, who obviously does a lot of hiking and photography.
Wildflower Guide

Wildflower field guide. Just tons of wildflower photos, some really exceptional.
Flicr Flowers


Plastic Waste
Every piece of plastic ever made still exists...
Very Cool YouTube Video...