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Tamassee Knob

I spent a lot of time this week reading and reading again all that Jess Riddle has had to say about Tamassee Knob. Tamassee Knob, incidently, is 72.3 miles from my front door--about an hour and twenty minute drive to the feet of some of South Carolina's tallest trees. I should have prepared myself a little better by printing out the reports that Jess had written. I didn't find any of the trees that he has listed on the site...but I doubt I would have found them today, even if I had had step by step directions. The reason for this, is that I grossly underestimated the strength of today's wind. I had been on the trail for half an hour or so when I heard the first really big crash. The unmistakable, snap, crackle and BOOM! of a large falling tree. At the time I had not been very far off of the Foothills Trail, which doesn't really have too many imposing trees to speak of. Well, about twenty minutes after that, while walking on the Tamassee Knob trail itself, comming into the shadows of some pretty tall Tulip poplars (one of which was leening pretty severely) and a red oak (leaning and sporting a split buttress, very indicitave of failure) I heard the next distant report of another falling large tree. After this last omen, while standing next to these two struggling columns of woody tonage, I became very aware of every falling twig. Unfortunately, the falling twigs and dead wood of all kinds were in abundance. Maybe, in those few tense moments I lost my nerve-- or maybe, I am very attached to my own personal gray matter. Either way, I decided that I could always come back on a day when the wind isn't as fierce.

Suffice it to say, I will be back. So, if any of you ENTS out there live anywhere near the area and are up for a little bush-whacking, I'll be going back soon. This place is pretty much in my back yard. There is a 170' tulip poplar out there and I have a very nagging urge to see it! e-mail me if interested. And Mr. Riddle, if you are out there somewhere reading this and would feel gracious enough to point the way....? Otherwise, I will be using Mr. Riddle's own words to untangle this little (or, very large) Liriodendron riddle!

Good hunting,
James Loftis
by james loftis
Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:50 pm
 
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Re: Tamassee Knob

Well, I returned to Tamassee Knob yesterday (Fri. April 30) and it was a beautiful day with little to no wind. As mentioned in an earlier post, the last time I was there, which was last sunday, it was extremely windy and I heard two large falling trees--or at least some major portion of tree. I wondered around quite a bit yesterday, I saw many fallen snags but no fallen green tree debris. Hopefully, whatever I heard was dead already. I bought a rangefinder on Thurs. and borrowed a clinometer from a friend of mine who owns a company that installs satelite dishes, in hopes to do some measuring to help in my search for some of the large individuals that Jess Riddle has documented in his reports. I believe I need some practice with the methods of measuring, even though they do seem to be quite simple while I am reading about them, I just wasn't that comfortable with the formulas or maybe the tools are still a little new to me. Anyway, I mainly stuck to measuring from the base of the trunk straight up to the highest portion of the top that I could get a reading on. There is a Liriodendron tulipifera that Jess mentions that he could see from the trail...I believe I located this tree, if it is not the same it is very similar in the dimensions it exhibits. I got a reading from directly underneath it to a height of 45yds. If I add to that number my own height of at least 5.5 feet (I am 5'11", but I am sure I was standing less straight than normal due to the fact that I was leaning against the tree slightly and standing with my feet fairly wide apart) that puts the tree at around 140 feet. This tree has a large canopy for a tulip poplar with many leads exhibiting apical dominance and I couldn't hit all of these from the base with the rangefinder due to other branches and leaves blocking my view---so, this tree may be even taller. I also doubt very much that I would hit the tip portion from directly underneath...needless to say, this tree was very awesome in its own right. I had thought, erroneously, that the coves at this site would flatten out somewhat and that where they did I would find the larger trees. From what I can tell, and after re-reading Jess' reports again (for like the hundreth time) these trees must grow on very steep terrain. I saw many large tulip poplars and ash and even others, but more often than not they were across deep underbrush choked culverts and on very steep slopes. This, along with waist deep poison ivy everywhere and the warming temps., which are awakening all of the insects (yellow-jackets being my particular nemesis), has lead me to believe that the search will be more productive and more fun in the cooler months.
However, if anyone out there decides they want to dive in and do some searching I would definately be game. I tend to be a little more courageous and willing to dive in the deep gullies and underbrush when I have someone else around. Most of all my arborculture friends aren't quite as nuts about wild trees as I am. While being able to talk them in to going for a hike, getting them to follow me into a hollow choked with poison ivy is where they draw the line. Also, if Will or the other James were to get a hankering to do some climbing here I would go to extreme measures to be included. Getting an opportunity to do some climbing is why I got into arborculture and now, ENTS. If I am not itching from poison ivy I'm itching to climb...anytime, anywhere, PLEASE! : )

James Loftis
by james loftis
Sat May 01, 2010 2:39 pm
 
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