We know, because geologists tell us, that the Sequatchie Valley, a 100-mile trough that bisects the Cumberland Plateau, is an eroded anticline. But a recent trip to Cumberland Mountain State Park to teach a botany class for the Tennessee Naturalist Program brought it home. North of the Sequatchie, Black Mountain and others rise 1500 feet above the plateau, exposing Sewanee conglomerate sandstone that we normally see at 2000 feet elevation, solid evidence of an anticline. Here trailing arbutus and halberd-leaved violets put on a lovely display. Water running off Black Mountain enters a sinkhole at Grassy Cove and resurfaces at Head of Sequatchie, This is literally where the valley begins, with water pouring out of Devil’s Step Hollow Cave, along with several springs. There we saw bluebells, several trillium species, hundreds of Jeffersonia plants, and many more wildflowers clambering over the rocks and hugging the creeks. Gorgeous!
Head of Sequatchie