Green River Game Lands.

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James Parton
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Green River Game Lands.

Post by James Parton » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:56 am

ENTS,

Last Friday, August 27, 2010 I finally got around to venture back down into the Green River Game lands, which contains the great Green River gorge, southeast of Hendersonville NC. The lands are managed by the NCWRC. I have done some posts on the area in the past, as I once lived just outside the game lands borders.

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _lands.htm

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _creek.htm

Also, here are two other posts I have done on locations just outside of GRGL.

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... ana_nc.htm

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _woods.htm

I got off to a late start around noon hitting the Pulliam Creek Trail and hiked on in to the gorge. After crossing Pulliam Creek I head into a tall grove of skinny hemlocks. Here I measured one to just over 130 feet tall. Heading up a hill I met a kayaker heading out who had injured himself kayaking through the treacherous Green River Narrows. He was in obvious pain and had left his kayak down in the gorge. He said he had injured himself even before this event, kayaking the narrows and had even been brought out on a stretcher. I have trouble understanding such dangerous extreme endeavors but he said he loved doing it. I told him about ENTS and what we are all about. We sat down on the trail for a short while and talked a bit while he rested. His name was Jordan, if I remember right. Another Kayaker was recently arrested for kayaking down Linville Falls!

Right around the time I talked to him I measured another tall skinny hemlock. It was just over 141 feet tall! Not bad. I did not venture down the steep grade of the gorge to measure the girth but I would have guessed it around 8 ft cbh. The hemlocks in the Green River Gorge are succumbing to the adelgid. Only three years ago the trees were really green and lush, though the adelgid had already began infecting the trees at that time. Now the foliage is getting thin and the color is fading. It is so sad. In a couple of more years the trees will only be grey skeletons.

After I hiked by the steep trail heading down to the narrows I met no other people and I could tell no body had hiked the trail there in a little while. I quickly became covered in spider webs. These spiky-looking little black and white orb web spiders had webs woven across the trail in many places. I removed the spiders off me many times. They are harmless and I never got bitten. I quickly learned to use my hiking stick to clear the webs ahead of me.

Well after passing the narrows I turned up the Bear Branch Trail after measuring a pretty gnarly Shortleaf pine to 80.1 feet tall. Jerry Coots, who I worked with at GE called me at this time and invited me on a hike up Mt. LeConte in the Smokies at months end. I gladly accepted. I just hope I can get the free time to do it.

Leaving the mixed hemlock/hardwood dominated forest of the gorge I hiked up the gorge wall on the Bear Branch trail. The dominant trees here are hardwoods like Red Oak, Maple and various Hickories. Pitch and Shortleaf Pine are scattered about too. On a recent visit to Paris Mountain State Park, I somehow missed seeing Table Mountain Pine. Green River looked like a good environment for them and I kept my eye out for them but I did not see any present. At least where I was at. They may be some present elsewhere.

Nearing the higher top of the gorge I came into more tuliptrees. Most are tall and slim but the ice storm of last winter has topped many of them. In fact the ridgetop trees in many areas of Green River Game Lands have been severely damaged. The ice reaked havoc here last winter. There are probably some taller ones scattered about, probably down in gullies where they had some shelter from last winters ice but they would be best measured after leaf-off. Some of my measurements are probably a be conservative due to not quite finding the true top due to the obscuring foliage. Trees deep in the gorge where better protected from the ice.

http://groups.google.com/group/entstree ... 7b44?hl=en

I also noticed a lot of various fungi in the woods. Some I knew, like Coral Mushroom and the poisonous Death Angel Mushroom ( Amanita ) but there were many I did not know. I have attached a picture of some pretty earthy colored ones here.

After coming outta the gorge I measured a rather ordinary but pretty Pitch Pine in a semi-clearing. It was 74.4 feet tall.

Here is where things got interesting. After coming out onto the Long Ridge Trail from Bear Branch I took a wrong turn. Going right instead of left. Hiking in I reached trails end in a beautiful hilltop meadow. It was getting late and I thought, well, I wonder if I will make it out by sundown? I had my handheld GPS with me but I have no maps for it but remembered my Blackberry phone had GPS and while it does not have topo or trail data maps it may show any roads in the area. Sure enough after zooming out a bit I could see roads and I then knew which way to go. It is not that I was really worried about getting lost, I had a flashlight and matches with me, plus my 25 caliber pistol and knife and some water and a little food. Plus I knew the trail had to lead out somewhere in the other direction and if anything I could just backtrack the way I came in. I chose to head back down the Long Ridge Trail in the other direction. The way I should have gone. This was supported by what I saw on the phone's GPS road map. I measured no trees on the Long Ridge Trail. Most had been considerably damaged by the winter. I did notice Chestnut Oak being common. I did see a small leaned over tree full of dark blue-black berries. It does not look like Elderberry. It may be a species of Viburnium. I have attached a picture. Id please! Jess?

Also. I had phone service too. I could call out if I would have truly gotten lost. At least to let my wife know I was ok.

I came out on Big Hungry Rd before Sunset, just as the Blackberry GPS shown I would. A little below the Bishop Branch trailhead and parking area. Next time I will bring a map! I measured a really pretty Tulip Poplar located on the left past Bishop Branch. It was an ok 108.4 feet tall with no top damage. I made it back to the car at the Pulliam Creek Trailhead a few minutes later. Very close to Sunset.

After leaf-off I intend to hike in on the Green River Cove Trail and take a better look in the gorge itself. They gotta be some nice old-growth in here somewhere. It will probably be in December. After deer hunting season. Some of these areas are very steep and rugged. I look at it and think " Shit, do I wanna go in there ? " but I know Blozan would. Areas like that are usually where the old growth is. Where the loggers could not easily get to. I can see why. I just am not in the shape I once was....

James
Attachments
Green River Trees.jpg
Shortleaf Pine.jpg
Shortleaf Pine.jpg (76.64 KiB) Viewed 1457 times
Into the Gorge.JPG
Fungi.JPG
Pitch Pine.jpg
Pitch Pine.jpg (68.85 KiB) Viewed 1457 times
What is this.JPG
greenriver_gamelands_map.pdf
(1.06 MiB) Downloaded 85 times
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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Josh Kelly
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Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by Josh Kelly » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:12 pm

James,

I think the Green River Gorge is really cool, too. There is a chance there could be some tall white pines in sections of the gorge. The section around The Narrows has definitely never been logged and is super scenic. Your mystery plant looks like Aralia spinosa to me.

Josh

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James Parton
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Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by James Parton » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:04 am

Josh,

Devil's Walkingstick is one I am not really familiar with. I identified it once in Linville Gorge earlier this year before the leaves were fully on the plant. The fiercely spiny trunk was a dead giveaway.

I spied this plant late in the day noticing the pretty berries. I just gave it a quick look and took a photo. If I would have paid attention to the trunk I would have id'd it right away. The plant was leaning out over the trail, probably from last winters heavy ice.

Thanks for the Id.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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James Parton
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by James Parton » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:17 am

Josh,

I just looked at the master photo. I could not pick up any thorns on the twigs but still it could be Aralia Spinosa. I wish I would have just looked at the trunk. It's a lesson learned.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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James Parton
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by James Parton » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:12 am

Josh,

Yes, you are right about this plant being Devil's Walkingstick. I found one yesterday in the forest above North Mills River. The leaves are identical and yes, it has thorns on the trunk.

Thanks: James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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edfrank
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Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by edfrank » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:37 pm

Great Post, I like your Aralia, James!!
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Green River Game Lands.

Post by James Parton » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:20 pm

Ed,

I have a strange fascination with unusual thorny plants. Like Devil's Walkingstick, Hawthorns & Trifoliate Orange.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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