As I always do when I'm at Carole's mom's place, I walked out into the huge back yard to visit the two big hemlock trees that Carole's dad planted as tiny saplings. These were little hemlock trees that he dug from the ground at the North Mills River Campground. These days, there are no living hemlocks at North Mills River. It is one of the places that has already been devastated by the adelgid infestations. So these trees are survivors of a lost group.
One thing that I miss about hiking in hemlock groves is stopping to stand under middle-aged hemlocks. Hemlocks of this age form gigantic umbrellas, their limbs sweeping down to the leaf cover, offering an amazing degree of protection and safety from the elements. When I was younger, I was actually able to stand under some hemlocks and remain dry as rain pelted out of the skies.
Every year the trees produce these dainty cones. But I've never seen a sapling emerge from the litter around them.