Thursday, March 25, 2010

Me and the Trees

I love going for long hikes in the forest. Many times I go alone, but sometimes friends head out with me. Of course the trees are everywhere when you're in the southeastern USA. We are very lucky to have such a wide and vast and varied landscape of trees here in this part of North America.

As I continue to work on my new novel, I'll keep posting photos from old hiking trips. These are from various journeys into places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Congaree National Park, various National Forests, and even to some state and county parks in Florida.

It took me many trips to find this tree. This is the Sag Branch poplar, the world's champion Tulip poplar tree; located in the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

An enormous red oak which grows near the Sag Branch poplar.

This big old hemlock was growing in the Citico Creek Wilderness in Tennessee. It, along with all of the other hemlocks there, is now dead.

This was taken on one of my failed attempts to find the Sag Branch poplar. In winter, in the cold. It was roughly about this moment that I got extremely sick and realized that I had the flu. I had a very hard time hiking out and then driving home. I came close to checking in to a hotel and calling my wife for help. But I toughed it out, drove home, and was sick for most of the following week.

This was on a hike with friends on Mackey Mountain in the Pisgah National Forest here in North Carolina. I took this photo for one main reason--that being that almost every tree in this photo is dead. All but about two or three of them are hemlock trees and the adelgid had killed them all.

An enormous Overcup oak in the Congaree National Park in South Carolina.

Another gigantic oak in Congaree.

The former world champion Yellow pine in Congaree.

The current world's champion Yellow Pine, just a couple hundred yards from the old champ.

As far as I know, this is probably the single largest tree in the eastern USA. It's a Bald cypress and is named The Senator, located near Orlando Florida.

On one of my early trips to find the Sag Branch Poplar. Just a typical tree in the Boogerman Grove.

This is what is commonly referred to as a "relic" old growth tree. The area was logged, but some few old growth trees were spared for one reason or another. This, too, is in the Boogerman Grove in the Smokies and has to be one of the most photographed trees in the park.

Same trip, same grove.

This grand old hemlock along the Boogerman Trail is now dead, from the hideous adelgid infestation that will end up killing all of our Eastern and Carolina hemlock trees. I'm glad I got to see the grove when it was still alive and healthy. Alas, no more.

This huge poplar tree is located in my second favorite old growth grove in the Great Smoky Mountains--the Albright Grove.

A big old cypress in Manatee Springs State Park in Florida.


dogboy443 said...

We need a pic of you embracing a Hemlock, then we can officially call you a tree hugger.

HemlockMan said...

Well, the hemlocks down here in my neck of the woods are almost all dead. But I'm a tree hugger, for sure. Proud to say that I am.

Jack said...

I am pretty sure I can dig through my photo archives and find some photos of Bob hugging a Hemlock!

HemlockMan said...

That's quite possible!