Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Gorge! Part One.

My son and I went to the Linville Gorge Wilderness today. I wanted to walk around in the forest and find a little solitude. Great day for seeing the mountains (cool temperatures and clear skies), but a bad day for solitude. Lots of other people were tramping around in the hills. That'll teach me to head up there on a Sunday.

I'll post details about the quick trip as the week progresses.

Looking into the Gorge from near the peaks known as The Chimneys.

American chestnut leaves. The common belief is that the American chestnut is extinct. It isn't, though. Not quite. You can often find them in the southern forests, sometimes fairly tall ones of twenty or even thirty feet. Almost all of these trees are sprouts from still-living root systems that send up shoots from time to time. Unfortunately, the fungal blight that destroyed our American chestnut forests is always waiting to strike, killing such trees before they can get very old. I saw--quite actually--hundreds of American chestnut trees today in the Gorge.

I found one fairly large American chestnut. Standing well over twenty feet. So I walked into the forest to see if it showed signs of the blight. As you can see, it does. The splitting bark is a signature of the deadly disease.

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