Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

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#11)  Re: Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Postby bbeduhn » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:28 pm

I'm still trying to get to the finest forests in this area. I'd heard that firefighters had cleared the trails in response to recent wildfire activity. Someone was misinformed. Sugar Creek had some work done on it but it is a roadbed and was never impassable. The Mackey Mountain Trail follows ridge lines and is encroached frequently by laurel and rhododendron. A late snow made hiking a wet endeavor as well. I turned back and hit a couple of other spots I'd been wanting to check out. Just south of Lead Mine Gap lies rich soils but lacks tall trees. Mountain silverbells are amongst the most common trees here, indicating very rich soils. Tulips do not dominate. Red oak, red hickory and pignut hickory are quite common. Red oak achieves great size.
               
                       
lead mine gap red oak 16 4.jpg
                       
16'4" red oak
               
               
               
                       
lead mine gap reds 16 4 14.jpg
                       
16'4" & ~14' red oaks
               
               

Lirio tulip   145.6' 145.7'
Carya glabra  121.3'
Carya ovalis    124.6' 124.0'
Quercus rubra  110'+ 16'4" cbh
Quercus velotina  127.0'
Halesia monticola  93.7'

On the way back down Hickory Branch, I noticed a cut hemlock that appeared to be one stem but it had two beginning rings and bark inclusion. It became a 3' d tree in about 110 years.
               
                       
hemlock double 110 yrs.jpg
                       
double hemlock 3'd 110 years
               
               
               
                       
lower falls 17.jpg
                       
lower falls
               
               


Hickory Branch remeasures (from well below)
Carya alba   137.3'
Carya glabra 137.5'
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#12)  Re: Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Postby jamesrobertsmith » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:28 pm

Question: Hiking UP the Snooks Nose Trail I have come to a point where I heard a loud sound of rushing water (coming from the right). If I descend into the cove from that point in the direction of the sound would I come to any old growth groves? I've been hiking in that area, but not off trail that high up the mountain.
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#13)  Re: Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Postby bbeduhn » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:10 pm

James Robert,
I haven't gone off trail at that point. I've measured from where the trail does a 180. Snooks Nose has a bunch of stunted, old growth, but nothing large. Most of the ridgetops in the Curtis Creek area are old growth. The rompous bowl, where you found large tulips, is pretty close to Snooks but is a cove beyond the small stream by Snooks Nose. There isn't too much in that cove from what I could see. I checked out a trail heading south from Snooks Nose. That is a dead end. It does have rich soils but they were harvested in the last 30 years. 90' skinny tulips are everywhere.

If you want to see some nice old growth, go south of Lead Mine Gap. Chestnut oaks dominate and get pretty large. It's a bit of a bushwhack. The big red oaks I found are an easy hike from lead Mine Gap.
Brian

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#14)  Re: Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Postby jamesrobertsmith » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:02 am

Thanks! I don't mind bushwhacking to see the good stuff!
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#15)  Re: Curtis Creek, Mackey Mountain Area, Pisgah NF, NC

Postby bbeduhn » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:59 pm

I forgot about this picture. The little hemlock is regenerating from the bottom up. All of the hemlocks I've encountered that have staved off death from the adelgid have lost their foliage from the bottom up with some of the upper crown retaining needles. Hopefully, this will become more commonplace.
               
                       
regenerating hemlock.jpg
                       
Regenerating hemlock
               
               
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