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Photo Panorama of Boogerman Trail

Here's a panorama I stitched together from a summer hike the first time I went to find (unsuccessfully) the Sag Branch poplar:

Image
by jamesrobertsmith
Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:29 pm
 
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Peters Mountain Wilderness/Mountain Lake Wilderness

I'm still organizing my photos and videos, so I don't have anything ready to post. However, I took a three-day backpacking trip mainly along the Appalachian Trail between Pearisburg VA and Pembroke VA, ending up at the edge of the Mountain Lake Wilderness Area. I hiked through two wilderness areas, Mountain Lake and Peters Mountain. I saw a lot of nice maturing forests (little or no old growth), mainly oaks and a few big pines.

However, one thing that we all noticed and which did a bit to freak me out were large, expansive stands of hemlock trees apparently free of hwa.

Has someone gone into these places and treated vast areas with adelgicides? Or is something else going on. We hiked through places where the hemlocks were totally devastated, and then a short time later we'd be walking through healthy groves. In a few places I noticed that the big, old hemlocks were all dead, but the medium and small trees seemed unaffected.

I was told that one large area we hiked through that was packed with apparently healthy trees is owned by Virginia Tech. Anyone know if the college has gone through their 2600 acres of forest there and treated the hemlocks?

I'll try to post some photos and videos I took of healthy hemlock trees as I backpacked the area. Might take a couple days.
by jamesrobertsmith
Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:47 pm
 
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Re: Peters Mountain Wilderness/Mountain Lake Wilderness

Here's a brief video I shot as we were hiking into the Mountain Lake Wilderness Area. We passed grove after grove of what seem to be completely healthy hemlock trees. In fact, I saw only a few dead hemlocks in this entire area, and the numbers seemed about normal for regular mortality having nothing to do with hwa. Age didn't matter with everything from saplings to old trees standing tall and full and green with new growth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2MAlw3YOrI
by jamesrobertsmith
Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:33 pm
 
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Nice poplar

I went hiking down to Crabtree Falls today. Off the Parkway. Slightly north of Mount Mitchell area. There was a LOT of ice and heavy snow damage to the forests in that part of the mountains. Thus, the forests appeared to be more open than normal. This will change, I assume, over the next few years with a proliferation of new growth taking advantage of all of that sunlight.

However, for now, you can really see through the woods and notice a lot of things that would have been hidden or obscured before. As I was hiking down to the falls, about 1/3 of a mile from the parking lot, I noticed a relatively impressive tree to the left of the trail. So I hiked over to it to get a photo. Nothing to scream about, but I thought it was worth taking some photos that I could stitch together:

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/Crabtree001E.jpg
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:50 pm
 
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Reedy Creek Park

Since I'm hard at work trying to beat the looming deadline on my new novel, I have to remain close at home. So I was forced to refuse an invitation to join a waterfall hike near Panthertown Valley. But I took a break from the book and drove a few miles over to a county park called Reedy Creek Park. It's rather large as county parks go in these parts. Almost 800 acres. I used to go there almost every day to hike when I lived near it, but it's been quite a while since I've been there to walk the trails.

I saw a couple of interesting trees today. One was an enormous toppled Osage orange tree. There was even a plaque for it. It was beside the ruins of an ancient farm house. It toppled in an ice storm in 1987 and a core was taken and the tree was dated to 1770. So it was roughly 217 years old when it was knocked flat. It's still an impressive sight lying horizontal and I guess is technically still alive since it's sending up new shoots from the trunk.

And I saw a large-ish poplar, as I almost always do if I search long enough. This one was growing beside a creek on an embankment that looks to have been altered at some time--the stream is lined by large mounds of earth on both sides, so it appears as if there was some primitive form of channelizing done on it long, long ago.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/ReedyCreek001.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/ReedyCreek006.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/ReedyCreek005.jpg
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:58 pm
 
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Re: The Green River Cove Trail

James Parton wrote:James, look me up if you are in the area and want to go. JP.


Definitely!
by jamesrobertsmith
Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:34 pm
 
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My novel, THE FLOCK.

The new edition of my novel will be in the bookstores in less than a week! Release date is November 9. You can order online at:

http://www.amazon.com/Flock-James-Rober ... ap_title_0

Or visit your local bookstore to order/buy a copy!
by jamesrobertsmith
Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:25 pm
 
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Live Oaks in Brunswick GA

On my way back home from business in Florida (book tour) I stopped off in my horrible home town of Brunswick GA to take a few photos of the live oaks at the County Courthouse. One of the very damned few pretty things about Brunswick are the grounds of the old county courthouse. It's packed with ancient live oaks. Here are a couple. I was in a hurry and couldn't stay long. Measurements were out of the question:

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/th_LiveOak01.jpg

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/th_LiveOak02.jpg

Click on the thumbnails above to see a larger image.

.
by jamesrobertsmith
Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:28 pm
 
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My pals: Hemlock photo

Most of my friends are aware of my passion for our fading hemlock forests. So when they're out in the backcountry and see an exceptional tree they will often send me a photo via email or a link. And, yes, they are almost always dead trees. This weekend one of my friends hiked to see Kuykendall Falls in Pisgah National Forest. Not an official trail, you have to know about it to find it. While there, he saw what he describes as a "huge, dead hemlock" in the gorge beside the waterfall. Unfortunately, my pals almost never put a human figure in the photos for reference. But Andy says this one was impressive:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9067009@N03/5544269056/in/set-72157626184456919/
by jamesrobertsmith
Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:08 pm
 
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Re: Glaciers Melting

Global climate change is not really the problem. The problem is the RATE of the climate change. What would normally take place over long periods of time is occurring in the blink of an eye (geologically speaking). Life forms don't have time to move or adapt. Added to this is the fact that Mankind had fragmented so many ecosystems that there is no latitude for most species. They're just going to be stuck in a bad situation and die out.

Anyone who thinks that pumping tens of millions of years worth of sequestered carbon into our atmosphere over the course of a few decades isn't a problem is a freaking moron. Humans are wrecking the Earth and causing mass extinctions on a par with the five worst mass extinctions evident in the fossil record.
by jamesrobertsmith
Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:16 pm
 
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Re: Curtis Creek Old Growth Area

See...that's why I come to ENTS. I'm merely a hiker who enjoys the forests. My knowledge of trees is quite limited.

I did recognize that this forest is totally dominated by Yellow poplars. By far the most common of the big trees there.

Josh: We climbed pretty high on the ridge. I've hiked over Snooks Nose in the past on my way from Curtis Creek to Green Knob, but that was on maintained trails and away from the old growth. The big surprise to me was that the higher we climbed the larger the trees and that whenever I bushwhacked up the ridges and away from the stream there were more and more big poplars. I spent a lot of time chasing up the slopes to get closer looks at trees.

Another thing that astounded me was the depth and richness of the soil on those very steep slopes. The aroma of those soils was something!

Old Growth 017.jpg
by jamesrobertsmith
Mon May 23, 2011 5:42 pm
 
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Re: Cascades Recreation Area

Here are some photos of the forest and environs I took along the hike:
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun May 29, 2011 11:00 pm
 
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Birkhead Mountains Wilderness

To test out my knee since the surgery, I decided to go hike in the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness which is a mere 60 miles from my house. They're considered the oldest mountain range in North America and are just little hills, actually. I figured it would be easy hiking and I'd be able to find some solitude in the woods. I was surprised to find that a lot of the forest in there is quite beautiful, despite not being very old. Especially in the steep little valleys and bottomlands--tons and tons and tons of hardwoods, much of it edging toward maturity.

I'll post some videos and photos later.

I also peeled about ten ticks off of me during and after the hike. The place is crawling with deer ticks, but there's considerable understory, so I don't think the deer herd is out of control. There appears to be trees of all ages working their ways up.
by jamesrobertsmith
Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:28 pm
 
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Re: Unaka Mountain Summit Area

Here's the video. Crank up the volume. Just the sounds of my footsteps, the wind, and the birds:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uygtb9BZGC0[/youtube]
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:36 pm
 
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Re: Loss of Key Climate Protectors- New York Times

I knew that as soon as China began to consume at a rate approaching our own that the Earth's ecosystems were doomed. Take a good look while you can. It's all going to be shutting down pretty soon.
by jamesrobertsmith
Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:49 pm
 
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Re: Live Oaks on the Beeach at Jekyll Island, GA

I was born near there. We used to make the short drive to the beach almost every weekend. For decades it was just about the only place here in the south where you could count on seeing wild turkey. The dune fields have been steadily eroding over the decades. Partly because many dunes were bulldozed to make way for the construction of hotels and such. This exacerbated the natural movements of the barrier island. At one spot there I've noticed that the State went in and tried to recreate dunes by building them up with machinery and attempting to plant them with native shrubs and grasses. Not sure how well that's working out. The place is also packed with the invasive sand spur. Don't walk there barefoot.
by jamesrobertsmith
Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:02 pm
 
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White Nose Disease news

Nice to see that they know the fungus isn't a result of the malady, but the source of it:

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic ... at_scourge
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:59 pm
 
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Whirlwind Trip to Great Smokies

My wife and I found ourselves in a weird situation of having some time on our hands and nowhere to go. Therefor we agreed on a one-day trip to Cataloochee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strictly an auto tour and some light strolling. Mainly we wanted to see the elk. We saw about 70 of them. Roughly half of the Park's herd of 150 animals.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/SmokiesElk001.jpg
Not a fantastic rack, but the biggest I've seen on any Smoky Mountain bull.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/SmokiesElk002.jpg
My wife took this one of me at a weird sycamore behind the schoolhouse in Cataloochee.
by jamesrobertsmith
Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:42 pm
 
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South Mountains Again!

Holy Moley! I went bushwhacking in the South Mountains again today. Saw a GORGEOUS forest of big tulip trees and a stand of still-healthy Carolina hemlocks on the verge of a cliff face. (They can be saved.) I'll post more later.
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:00 pm
 
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Thinking of previous hikes.

While I'm holed up here writing a contracted horror trilogy, I was thinking of recent hikes.

http://tilthelasthemlockdies.blogspot.com/2011/12/old-growth-memories.html
by jamesrobertsmith
Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:35 pm
 
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Every time I drive on the Parkway or that horrid Cherohala Skyway all I can think is how many tens of thousands of acres of wilderness were utterly screwed by gouging that road along the highest ridges. I dream of it someday being buried, the roadbed filled in, the route replanted with native trees and shrubs, with only trails where road once ruined the landscape. Yeah, I know. It ain't gonna happen, but it's my dream. Just think of the mass of wilderness you could create merely by tearing up the Parkway and NC 215. Middle Prong and Shining Rock would be joined as one enormous tract that could be extended for miles in every direction. Plus, imagine how less crowded Shining Rock would be without that high elevation access along the Parkway. Heaven!

The Cherohala must have wrecked what had to have been one of the largest roadless wilderness areas that was left in the southern Appalachians. What a horrible crime!
by jamesrobertsmith
Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:18 pm
 
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Re: Death Valley vs. Joshua Tree?

Skull Rock.

Image

Cholla cactus garden. You don't want to tangle with these.

Image
by jamesrobertsmith
Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:18 pm
 
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Re: Death Valley vs. Joshua Tree?

This little reservoir had not been full for quite some time, but was almost at full pond while we were there. However, most of the birds that had been flocking to take advantage of that water were nowhere to be seen.

http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g295/jamesrobertsmith/Joshua003.jpg

(For reference, my wife is standing on a shoreside boulder on the left. You can see her vertical image reflected in the water.)
by jamesrobertsmith
Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:28 pm
 
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Re: Death Valley vs. Joshua Tree?

JR- when were you there? When I went in Spring 2004 or 2005 (can't remember) it was full pool at the reservoir too. Really neat to see.

I was there in February of 2010. I had a story in an anthology (THE BLEEDING EDGE) and had flown out to be at a multi-author book signing. It was a chance to meet some of the other writers who also had stories in the collection--Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, John Shirley, Norman Corwyn, Earl Hamner, Jr., etc.

We had a few days to kick around so we went to see Joshua Tree and LaBrea Tar Pits, etc.

I also got to meet underground cartoonist/painter Robert S. Wilson. That was amazing!
by jamesrobertsmith
Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:11 pm
 
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Re: Road decommissioning in the Allegheny N.F., Pennsylvania

WONDERFUL!!! I love to see old roads decommissioned! I wish they'd do the same thing with the auto roads that lead up to Clingman's Dome, Brasstown Bald, and Mount Mitchell! Another one that would be good to see gone forever is the Cherohala Skyway.
by jamesrobertsmith
Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:11 pm
 
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