A few weeks ago Ed and I took another OLLI hike through 250 acres of woods known to the Muscogee as The Beloved Land. Our four hour hike was on private property that is part of the Athens Land Trust next to Tallassee Forest. The landowner was our guide. Our group included an ecologist so we enjoyed a mixture of history and nature along the way. This area was apparently the northern most limit of the Muscogee territory. We crossed several streams and lunched in a holly forest. I did not know that native hollies grew into trees. For the first time I saw a spider on a golden web which sparked a memory for me. After a little research, I realized I'd read an article in the Athens Banner Herald a year ago about these Golden Silk Orb Weavers. I sent my photos to UGA and received a confirmation that it is the Joro spider, originally from Japan. Since the hike I also saw this spider twice in my neighborhood, once in my yard. They seem to be spreading fast. We studied tree bark and lichen. Toward the end of the hike we watched a black rat snake scamper up a tree trunk. It must have been eight feet long. How does a snake climb a tree? You can see a selection of photos on my homepage slide show. Click on a photo for a larger view. Click again to read the captions.